Complaints/concerns were heard from parents in the Sodus Central School, about a “mandatory summer school”.
The consensus was that all students in grades 6, 7, and 8 would have to attend summer school, and that the consequences would be dire.
One parent stated that this forced additional school time would be “destroying the child’s summer, chances for planned vacations, and wreaking havoc on their mental wellbeing .”
The premise, as reported to the Times, was that all middle school students were being mandated to attend summer school - or else.
Speaking to the Sodus Administration – Superintendent Nelson Kise, and Jr./Sr. High School Principal Arkee Allen – a slightly different scenario arose.
They explained that the first statement about this being a mandatory summer school was ONLY for those students in grade 6, 7, 8 who were failing at least 2 classes.
Then the determination of “mandatory”, although it is literally used in the communication, offered options for those who could not or would not attend.
“In Sodus, we want our students to be ready and prepared to the next grade level. Any grades 6-8 students failing 2 or more classes at the end of the school year should attend this summer school,” said Superintendent Kise.
He also added: “If a student is unable to attend, the student will be required to attend an after-school program at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year to ensure that the student is able to close any learning gaps due to failure during the 2020-21 school year.”
There were also options given for failing students to attend (during Regents Week) a tech-prep class for their failing subject to earn them a shot at passing. If they pass the test, they could pass the course.
Principal Allen stated that parents receiving the mandatory summer school letter had received several prior notices about their child’s potential failure. This letter was simply the follow up.
The school sent letters to 42 junior-high students. This is not the actual number of students who will fail, but students who are cutting it close. The purpose is to provide another notification to parents and hopefully motivate students to kick it into high gear over the last few weeks of school. Per Mr. Allen, this is certainly in line with past years and not due to COVID.
Kise noted that “We have measures in place to be sure students can be successful.”
“We must do everything possible to prepare the children of Sodus for life after graduation and believe it is our responsibility to hold our students to high academic standards. However, in doing so, we will also support them endlessly. This year, for example, we held Saturday and Sunday weekend academies and will be holding “catch up” sessions during the typical Regents testing week (these are designed to help students pass their classes).
We are happy to meet with any parent who has questions or concerns and work with them to ensure their child’s success.”