MEDFORD, Ore. – Mike Mayben grades a small stack of quizzes from his Algebra 1 class. A small handful of students sits quietly nearby, each diligently working on a series of equations.
Over the next two weeks, those kids will go through a curriculum that normally spans a nine-week semester.
“You’re doing three-and-a-half hour sessions,” said Mayben, an Algebra teacher at North Medford High. “It’s like doing three days every single day.”
Mayben and the 25 other teachers working over the summer will see roughly 800 to 1,000 students who struggled in either grades or attendance over the school year.
It offers what teachers hope will prove a more personalized learning experience.
“You’re used to 35-40 kids in a classroom, and now you’re working with eight to nine,” said Mayben.
Until this year, summer school was only offered to juniors and seniors and was limited to computer courses to recover credits.
The newly-added classroom sessions are for freshmen and sophomores who previously had no chance to get caught up between grades.
“You see a trend with students who, even after their freshman year, if they’re down a couple of credits… If they don’t have them back their sophomore year then they just really start fading away,” said Todd Bloomquist, Director of Secondary Education at Medford School District.
Over the summer the district will be spending roughly $369,000 of their own money to offer the program. That’s a six-fold increase from last year.
Whether that will pay off is up in the air, but teachers say if the kids make the most of it, there’s no reason it can’t.
“They’re getting that second chance,” said Mayben. “Those kids I think are going to have a great amount of success.”
The budget for the 2014-2015 school year, which includes most of the expense for this summer program, hasn’t actually been approved by the School Board yet.
That will be voted upon during their scheduled meeting Monday night.