Soak up the sun and knowledge at MCPS summer school


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Registation for the MCPS Central High School Program (CHSSP) is now available. Students may now register to complete one full-credit course over the summer.

By Catherine Chan, Assistant Online Editor

Sunshine. Travel. Beach. Friends. Ice cream. These are often the words that come to mind when students think about summer. However, for other students, summer reminds them more of pencils, paper and Zoom sessions.

MCPS’s Central High School Summer Program (CHSSP) is a summer school program that allows students to complete full-credit courses over six weeks. Students can take one two-semester course per summer, with each semester being three weeks long. The program offers a variety of courses within the subjects of English, math, science, social studies, health, TechEd, world languages and fine arts. The majority of these courses are virtual and asynchronous, but there are also some synchronous learning opportunities available at schools.

“I think the CHSSP program is very beneficial because it provides students with opportunities to either improve their grades or take care of a course by quickly getting it done over the summer,” WCHS junior Elena Joo said. “This allows students to make room for courses they are genuinely interested in taking during the school year.”

There are certain credits that the state of Maryland requires high schoolers to fulfill in order to graduate, such as completing at least one year of a fine arts and technology education credit respectively. The CHSSP allows students who are less interested in these subjects to complete their credits over the summer, rather than having to endure the classes for an entire school year.

“I fulfilled my health credit by taking the course over the summer last year,” WCHS sophomore Sarah Bland said. “Doing so, I was able to make room for a class like AP Seminar, which is a course I am actually interested in taking.”

Moreover, the college admissions process has become more competitive, with students applying to more and more schools. Therefore, students feel pushed to take more courses to upgrade their transcript and boost their GPA. With this being the case, the CHSSP strives to maintain an adaptable learning environment to aid in the well-being of students.

“The schedule is very flexible,” Joo said. “If a student has a sport in the evening, they could attend the morning session for their course and then proceed to take part in their evening activities. This gives students freedom so they will not feel like summer school is taking up their whole summer.”

In addition to the flexibility of the session times, Zoom sessions will be held every weekday, but students are not required to attend all. There are still, however, a set number of Zoom sessions that an individual must attend in order to earn credit.

“I also like how the mandatory Zoom sessions are not every day, but every other day,” Joo said. “There are still optional Zoom sessions on the days where we do not have a mandatory Zoom session where we can attend to ask any questions. However, students mainly use those days to individually learn from the interactive slideshows and do the corresponding assignments or projects.”

Because students learn and comprehend material in different ways and paces, the CHSSP uses a platform called Edementum, which releases all the coursework material beforehand so students can individually prioritize their work. Edementum also provides a suggested time frame for when to complete assignments, although many students do not follow it.

“Time management is probably the main challenge when taking a summer course,” Bland said. “There are times when students might feel lazy since it is summer and will postpone an assignment to the last minute. During the school year, we receive many reminders of due dates and deadlines, but that is not the case with summer school.”

There is a lot of independent learning that comes along with taking a summer course. Students having more control over when to do tasks and assignments coincides with them being held responsible for their level of success. Unlike the school year, where students can collaborate with others to help remind each other when things are due, students remain in their spheres when learning in the summer.

“Another challenge students might face when taking a course over the summer is it being socially isolating,” Bland said. “Students rarely communicate together through Zoom sessions, so we do not get to know or help each other out.”

Depending on the student, this social isolation factor can have different impacts. Students might not be able to discuss with their peers, but their teachers should have some method of communication where students can contact them with their questions and concerns at any given time.

“Overall, the program has its pros and cons, but it is undoubtedly a program that is beneficial for many students,” Joo said. “Taking a CHSSP course will not necessarily be the highlight of your summer, but will be valuable to you later on.”