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Summer School has been an integral part of American education for many years. Historically, summer school was used to prevent delinquency, to keep children “off the streets.” While this function is still served, the purposes of summer school now include academic enrichment, summer employment for teachers, supervision for children during the summer months for working parents, the mitigation of summer learning loss, and what can be termed remediation of student knowledge and skills to meet higher academic standards (Hirschman, 2000; New York State United Teachers, 1999; The National Assembly of Health and Human Service Organizations, 2000). For some students, summer school is required or strongly suggested as a way to provide remedial instruction in needed content areas and skills. The remedial function of summer school is quickly becoming a priority as school districts scramble to provide additional instruction to students to meet the demands of high-stakes testing for promotion, graduation, and school accountability.
Summer school programs are also viewed as an alternative to social promotion (U.S. Department of Education, 2000; Washington, 1998). To help address widespread student skill deficiencies, a variety of educational programs have emerged as supplements to the traditional academic year curriculum. Such programs include after-school programs and extended year programs, as well as summer school (Hirschman, 2000; New York State United Teachers, 1999; The National Assembly, 2000). Summer school remediation is viewed as important because decisions on whether to promote or retain students seem to depend on the progress students have made during summer school (Sadowski, 2000).
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