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Common Core catches some blame for lower summer school numbers

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - Updated: 10:17 AM

BY CAROLINE MURRAY

caroline.murray@recordernews.com

BROADALBIN -- Summer school enrollment is down this year in the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District and Superintendent Steven Tomlinson believes Common Core educational standards are the driving force behind the decrease.

At a board of education meeting Monday, Tomlinson said registration is below average for elementary, middle and high school students compared to years past.

"We have very low enrollment for summer school this year. I like to think that students are doing better academically than they have in the past," Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson also believes Common Core is a reason, especially at the elementary school level.

He said parents are more reluctant to send their children to summer school, after struggling with new educational mandates throughout the 2013-14 academic year.

"Quite frankly, they want to give their kids a break for summer," Tomlinson said.

The board of education has a promotion policy requiring students to attend summer school if they fail two or more core subjects and want to move up to the next grade.

A drop in enrollment could also be attributed to a successful academic year, Tomlinson said.

However, he said elementary school enrollment is down by more than half this summer.

"It is a significant drop," he said.

He received some input from parents about why they neglected to send their children to summer school. Many reported having a tough school year because the new Common Core curriculum was a difficult transition.

Tomlinson would like to receive more feedback to see if this is true for the majority of students and their families.

"We are having a discussion about how we can get input from parents of kids ... just to see what the causes were," he said.

Tomlinson said there are other reasons for students to attend school during the summer.

High school students seeking a higher Regents exam grade may voluntarily attend classes. He said many teachers prepare students to take the test again in August. Students are allowed to take the exams as many times as they need, he said.

Other more academically active high school students register for summer school classes such as health, in order to loosen up their tightly packed schedules during the school year.

And because there was a lack of enrollment across the board, Tomlinson said district officials did not hire extra summer school teachers, as was budgeted.

He does not attribute the entire decrease in enrollment to the Common Core, but said he has a strong feeling it played a role at the elementary school level.

Tomlinson said parents and their children were faced with a challenge this year, and once they adjust to the Common Core, it will be less of a battle.

"I think the first year of all the intense Common Core instruction, I think it threw a curve-ball at everyone. I think all of that will settle down and parents will feel more comfortable and we will see a change," he said.

     

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