As more options for online learning is explored by the Foothills School Division, it might be tempting to assume that today's tech-savvy students prefer learning online, over the traditional classroom setting.

Summer School Principle for the Foothills School Division Stacey Burrows says, this is not always the case.

"One of the quotes I myself had written down from an interview I've done with a student over the summer was 'Mrs. Burrows, if I wanted to be learning through the computer I would have taken The Hub courses [during the semester], I'm taking summer school because I want to be taught by a teacher.'"

Burrows says for many students, focusing on a particularly difficult course is easier for some students over the summer, as the pace is faster, and a teacher in-class can help them focus on the content.

"70 percent of kids who attend summer school, want to focus on one subject in a very intense period of time without any distractions. I've heard that from a student taking Social Studies 30-2 and many Math 20-1 kids, they want that intense daily focus on one subject. They feel like they can understand it better without having to worry in the Fall/Winter semester, they've got other core subjects to worry about, they have extra curricular activities they maybe have part time jobs, so they think that's a really good model for summer school."

Burrows says the opinions of the other 30 percent of students dispels another myth about attending summer school.

"Summer school isn't the popular culture stereotype of kids that fail a course and need to go to summer school, that's just simply not the case. Of course, we have a few students that need to attempt it [a course again] but I would say that's about 2 percent of students and learners, I'd say most of them are taking it for other reasons. 30 percent of students take summer school because they want to free up a block of time in their Fall/Winter semester, some students play competitive sports and need that time. Others are highly involved in artistic endeavors, some are in an apprenticeship program and working and need that freed up time."

In response Burrows noted that the Foothills School Division will be rallying up more teachers for in-class instruction over the summer.

"Most of our learners are classroom based learners, so we are going to be extending our instructional day. Students are asking us for more face to face instruction with their teachers, they're asking us for more engaged learning. That's going to mean an increase of teaching staff, but that is something that we are happy to provide in 2019, because that's what our students are asking for."


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