Parkland's Summer School is Going Cyber
In a dramatic change, students needing remedial instruction in summer will take classes through a cyber school rather than in traditional classrooms.
The Parkland School District will make a dramatic change in its summer school program for its high school and middle school students.
Rather than traditional classroom instruction, students needing remedial help in summer will be taught via a cyber school, Advance Academics based in Oklahoma City. The classes will be held in the Parkland High School library.
Summer school will offer a “tailor-made curriculum” to take into account “each student’s deficits,” said Randy Claroni, Parkland’s director of curriculum instruction and professional development.
Students will take a test at the start of summer school, which will help determine the areas in which they are deficient. Each of the students’ curriculums will then be tailored to their particular needs.
The switch from traditional classrooms to a cyber school for summer work was discussed at the school board’s Education and Athletics Committee meeting on Tuesday.
Claroni said later that there will be a cost savings of $35,000 to $37,000, because less staffing will be needed. The traditional summer school used nine to 11 teachers, he said. But with the cyber school in place, there will be an administrator, two facilitators (teachers) and a technology person, in addition to the online instructors.
Parkland paid Advance Academics a $2,000 fee for training of its staff.
Summer school classes for students in Parkland High School, Orefield Middle School and Springhouse Middle School will be Monday through Thursday, beginning June 25 and ending Aug. 9. There will be no classes July 2-5, to accommodate the Independence Day holiday.
Students can opt to take an exit exam after completing 12 classes and the learning modules assigned to those 12 classes at a level of proficient or better.
If the students score a minimum of 80 percent on the exit exam, they would have shown proficiency in that subject and can choose to opt out of the remaining 12 sessions.
Outside of the regularly scheduled classes, students can do work at home or daily at the high school library between 8 a.m. and noon. All assignments must be completed prior to the last day of summer school on Aug. 9.
Weekly reports will be sent to the parents of the summer school students.
The cost for each class is $235, which is non-refundable. Lower fees will be available for students who receive free or reduced school lunches.
No student may take more than two summer school classes. Registrations for summer school for the middle school and high school students will be held in the high school main office up until 3 p.m. on June 22.
Advance Academics is a different company than the one used for Parkland’s cyber school during the regular school year. The Parkland Cyber Learning Program is part of the Lehigh Valley Cyber Consortium, founded by Parkland officials.
The consortium – including students from the East Penn, Southern Lehigh and Whitehall school districts – contracted with VLN Partners of Pittsburgh, which provides the cyber school teachers during the regular school year.