WESTFIELD – Westfield High School Principal Charles Jendrysik said the school will be offering students who failed certain required courses the first semester an opportunity to make up the credits during April vacation week.
The program, a first for the high school, will be targeting a number of one-semester courses, including several English language arts courses, physical education and financial literacy.
“A lot of them are school requirements. We wanted to help students with the courses we knew they needed to pass in order to graduate,” Jendrysik said. The school will run full days Tuesday to Saturday, due to the Patriot’s Day Monday holiday.
Jendrysik said he was encouraged by having over 50 students sign up for the week. “That’s really great, it shows the students still care and are willing to give up their April vacation,” he said, adding this gives them an opportunity to get back on track.
Summer school director Andrew Joseph will be running the program. “It’s very similar to summer school. These are full day classes, multiple hours that the students are doing to go and get their credits,” he said.
Johnson said during the week the teachers are going to come up with something creative that will address the standards over 30 hours, the typical session of summer school. Physical education will cover health, wellness, and fitness through different games, and the English language arts plan is “awesome,” according to Johnson.
“They’ll be doing some writing projects, engaging students with activities that are creative. Activities that meet the standards and engage kids to learn,” he said, adding, “I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next week.
Johnson, who teaches Statistical Math and Algebra 1, said math classes are not included because they are usually full-year courses that don’t receive a final grade until the end of the year. He said students that don’t pass math may take summer school.
Johnson said while summer school has historically been considered punitive, the district has made a concerted effort to make sure the experience in the summer, and now in the spring, is not “an old-school, dry, boring kind of penance scenario.”
“Just because they weren’t successful, doesn’t mean they need to suffer through this experience to recover the credit. We’re moving in that direction to make these activities meaningful. It’s good to be involved in that sort of thing, and it’s great that it’s free of charge to students. All of these things are pointing in a positive direction for this type of program. We set high standards and make sure they are getting something out of it,” Johnson said.