Last Friday, 450 students finished classes for summer school at Berkeley High School (BHS). While most of BHS’s 3,200 students have already been enjoying summer for the last month, many kids have been diligently attending school to receive credit for courses that they either failed or failed to take during regularly scheduled school.
“I’d say between 95 and 99 percent of students are passing their classes,” said Kristin Glenchur, the school athletic director who is also summer school co-principal at BHS. “Kids actually choose to come to summer school. It’s a choice. They are not required to come. They want to come and improve their grades.”
For the past month, students have been going to school Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., taking classes such as English, math, Spanish, chemistry, advanced biology, and history. Students who applied for summer school chose the classes they wanted to take, which formed the course catalog for the summer, based on popular demand.
Glenchur reported that they started with 550 students, but are ending the summer term with 450 students, “40 or 50 of which may have signed up thinking they were going to fail a class but instead passed it.” The official average daily attendance for the school is around 82 percent, but taking into account the incorrectly enrolled kids, the real attendance rate was more around 91 percent, pretty close to Berkeley High School’s 2007-2008 attendance average of 94-95 percent.
In addition, the School Lunch Initiative, initiated by Director of Food Services Ann Cooper, continued to provide a free breakfast to students who arrived a half-hour early.
Glenchur and Jared Brody have been acting co-principals during summer school, leaving Principal Jim Slemp to plan for the upcoming school year.
“It’s a job I do all year round,” says Slemp. “It’s very rewarding, but I am glad that Kristin and Jared are taking charge for summer school. I wouldn’t really call this a break, though.”