Raising North Dakota: Changing Perspectives on Summer School

Good Day Dakota

In the past, summer school was thought of as a place for the “bad kids:” those who ditched school and slept through class.

But that negative connotation is disappearing.

“Take summer school! I think it’s awesome,” exclaims Johanna Stromme, a Bismarck High School student.

Stromme is not the only kid who thinks summer school is great. Student Bennett Vatnsdal started reaping the benefits last year.

“It’s way better because you don’t have to take it during the school year,” he says. “Now all your friends are gonna be like, ‘Oh, I have biology homework, I can’t go out, I’ve got homework,’ and I’ll be like, ‘Oh yeah, I took that already.'”

And that is the mindset teacher Andrea Delzer wants to instill in her students. “I think one of the best things about it is for kids who want to take extra classes and get ahead,” she says, “so they can do that and it opens up their schedule to all kinds of extracurriculars and it’s very valuable to them.”

Stromme knows personally the value of taking summer classes and has seen a positive change in others as well. “You can definitely tell kids change because of summer school,” she says. “I think they’re more involved with school after taking it.”

But she wasn’t always a cheerleader for summer school. “My parents forced me in elementary,” shares Stromme. “And I didn’t take it in middle school, and then I realized that if I do take it, it’s a lot better for my education because my grades have definitely gone up since I’ve taken summer school and everything.”

For those who aren’t so anxious about attending school in the summer, Delzer says ‘don’t drag your feet.’

Delzer stresses, “It’s so important to get stuff done right away and not put it off. If you get in the procrastination habit of ‘I’ll do it later, I’ll do it next year, I’ll do it next week,’ it gets harder, it just piles on. So just grit your teeth, just get it done, move on.”

And while summer school may be faster-paced, there’s another perk to consider. “There’s a lot of homework during the school year, and during the summer it’s not as bad,” says Vatnsdal.

“Okay, so it takes away from part of your summer, but I definitely think it adds to your school year,” says Stromme.

Another benefit that was echoed by students and teachers is smaller class sizes, which allows for more one on one instruction.

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