Students register for virtual summer school classes

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More than 500 students have registered – and hundreds more are expected to register before the June 14 deadline – for the Beaufort County School District’s virtual summer school program, which lets students go to class during the summer without actually entering a school.

This will be the fourth year for the eight-week program, which helps students maintain or accelerate their academic skills over summer vacation.

Chrissy Robinson, the district’s Director of Educational Technology, said that reading and math results from Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests indicate that students who participate in Virtual Summer School program retain more information than those who don’t take part.

Robinson said the summer program can adapt to what individual students need because the computer programs are customized.

“If a student is behind at the end of the school year, that student can use virtual summer school to catch up,” she said.  “But advanced students also can benefit by getting a head-start on courses they’ll be taking next school year.”

The Beaufort County Board of Education has pushed to make the popular summer online program available to more students because research suggests that summer achievement loss is greatest among students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.  The school district estimates that about half of this summer’s participants will be from low-income families.

Last summer, 600 students — about a quarter of the total enrollment — participated at community centers through partnerships between the district and the Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry, the YMCA of Beaufort and the Neighborhood Outreach Centers in Bluffton and Hilton Head.

This summer, each of the community centers will make Virtual Summer School a part of its daily activity schedule, with students working for 45 minutes on math and 45 minutes on English Language Arts.