Students Accelerate Learning During Summer Academic Camps

Rather than spending all their time biking, playing, or soaking up the sun, some HISD students are taking advantage of an opportunity to advance their education over the summer months.

In addition to the standard summer school offerings designed to help students catch up or pass the STAAR exam, many campuses offer enhanced education options, such as Advanced Placement assistance, accelerated math courses, college entrance exam preparation, STEM courses, or others to help kids get ahead.

Westside High School is offering one-week math courses in August for students who wish to refresh their knowledge from last school year or prepare for next year’s material early.

“Research tells us that in summer months, the most regression is in reading and math,” said Peggi Stewart, principal of Westside. “Kids come back cold, so instead of moving into more rigorous instruction, they have to review.”

While Westside’s program isn’t for credit, it serves students who either need remedial work or who want to get a jump on their next class. Pre-teaching instead of simply re-teaching is beneficial to all involved, Stewart said.

Some of the many courses being offered this summer include:

  • An Advanced Placement tutorial camp at Austin High School designed to give students new study habits, better note-taking skills and more.
  • A five-week pre-calculus course at Sharpstown International High School
  • An algebra readiness camp at Attucks Middle School that has resulted in students taking end-of-course tests early
  • Cougar Camp at Key Middle School, which includes courses in drama, band, and Spanish

“At Austin HS, we believe summer programs are important because high school can’t ‘do business’ in the way that we have traditionally. We have to be innovative. We must develop new programs that are responsive to our students’ lives and challenges,” said Elizabeth Cocina, dean of students at Austin. “Any time, any opportunity we can locate to try to help students gain mastery over the content… recover credits or gain original credit, it is imperative that we do so.”

Cocina is not only an Austin HS administrator, she’s also a client.

“I am a parent, too,” she said. “I find it gratifying to see my own son engaged and productive all year round, not just during the school year.”

Parents who are interested in learning more about summer camps should contact their child’s school for information about specific course offerings available.