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Summer School-Academy Work Toward Helping Students Succeed

OSWEGO, NY – “I was no different than the kids who are in those classrooms right now. I can identify with them,” said Oswego City School District summer school administration Sean Fahey as he oversees the program.

Fahey has a unique view of the students who are involved in summer school and the middle school oriented Summer Academy.

A student works at the Plato lab.
A student works at the Plato lab.

He noted, “When I was in high school I was never a troublemaker, but academically I wasn’t always a success. I am open and honest with the kids about the experiences and decisions that I made when I was in high school.  I can equate what they are going through with decisions that I made in my life.”

This year, the Oswego City School District is running a full summer school program.

In the past students have been transported to Central Square.

Fahey explained, “We wanted to keep track of our own students and offer them the opportunity of summer school in their own backyard.  I really feel that by not having it in Central Square we have allowed more of our students to take advantage of this program.”

This year, 175 Oswego High School students are involved in summer school and another 50 middle school age youngsters participated in the Summer Academy.

The summer school program is basically a traditional type of program offering a wide variety of courses including Integrated Algebra, English, Global Studies, U.S. History, Geometry, and American Literature.

However, Fahey noted, “We are also offering PLATO this summer. This is a credit recovery course. Students have taken the course, but might not have been successful. They are able to recover that credit.”

Continuing he said, “This is not an easy way to gain credit. They’ve taken the class and now have to show and prove they understand the information. Teachers look over all of the student work and make certain that it fulfills all of the requirements. This follows state curriculum requirements, but what is nice about it is that the students do it on their own time and at their own pace.”

One of the major goals of the district is to improve graduation rates.

Fahey notes, “We are trying to save kids by giving them options. I really feel the majority of students have every intention to graduate. We need to offer then the best possible opportunity to do so and most are taking advantage of this. Some have made decisions that have put them behind schedule, but you can see every day that these students indeed want to leave high school with a diploma.”

This summer it was noted that there are now three students who can now graduate due to the credit recovery program.

Meanwhile, the desire to have Oswego Middle School students get off to a successful start is also important aspect of the district offered Summer Academy program.

Fahey noted, “This is a transition program set to build relationships and get a jump start to the next school year. We have sixth graders, entering the middle school in September, coming in and meeting some of their seventh grade teachers. This allows the students to build confidence.”

He continued, “It just gives them a head start. When they walk into the middle school they will see some familiar faces.  We showed them how to use their locks for lockers and had conversations of how to deal with various problems. We also have some of the type of course work they will be doing during the first quarter.”

This year, due to construction at Oswego High School and Oswego Middle School, it was necessary to move the academic programs to Charles E. Riley Elementary School.

Fahey noted, “I really would like to thank the neighbors around the Charles E. Riley Elementary School for their understanding. High school age students change the dynamics of the area. This is an elementary school and the neighbors might not have expected high school students to be around, but they have been very understanding and tolerant of us. All of the neighbors around here have been phenomenal.”

Summer school has meant that some students have had to spend a little more time in the classroom. However, Fahey summarized, “We all take on information differently. Some just may need more time than others. We all take those different roads and sometimes the paths are bumpy, but we want our students in the Oswego City School District to succeed.”