About 300 Westerville City School District students are taking classes this summer for credit advancement or replacement.

Scott Ebbrecht, director of assessment and alternative education, said students receiving a failing grade or a grade they want to improve have the opportunity to take summer courses, including 24 high school classes.

The summer session began June 5 and continues through July 18.

"Kids receiving a failing grade, or a grade they want to improve upon, is probably where it really shows the value, ensuring kids have opportunity to take coursework during the summer," Ebbrecht said.

At the high school level, the largest enrollment is in Algebra 2 with 51 students taking the class for grade replacement and 10 taking it for advancement. In 2016, 14 students took the class for replacement and eight for advancement.

Ebbrecht said one reason for the spike in Algebra 2 attendance is that it's difficult to take two math classes in one year.

"By taking it in the summer, the student doesn't have to double up in the school year," he said.

Fifty-one students are taking physical education classes compared to 74 last year.

"The numbers continue to diminish in PE due to the physical education waiver in the district," Ebbrecht said.

"They (students) enjoy opportunities during the summer. We're doing swimming and archery. There's a variety of opportunities in the summer," he said.

He said the district took a step back this year and reduced the cost for summer school.

"It increased our enrollment," Ebbrecht said. "We wanted to provide more opportunities in our district. In the past, kids might have taken classes through other entities. The board of education places a value on what we provide within the Westerville City Schools."

The district provides transportation to the classes.

Rhonda Hoffman, an administrative assistant with the district, said literature about summer classes is mailed to students' residences.

At the middle school level, Ebbrecht said, the Fab Lab is being utilized.

"It's all embedded in the math program," he said. "There are a lot of things you can do with that that are math related."

Anne Baldwin, Career Tech and College Readiness coordinator, said engineering and design work is being done in the Fab Lab with seventh-graders.

"They will be working with equipment and apply what they learn in math," she said. "It brings math alive."

Ebbrecht said the other focus area is the fact that third-grade reading guarantee is in place.

"We're ensuring every student who desires to come has an opportunity to do that," he said. "We work hard to help students to take the test in July to show proficiency."

Ebbrecht said the district wants a program that is accessible in the summer for those identified as needing help and those who excel.

The number of students registered for grade replacement is 165 compared to 76 last year.

Students taking classes for grade advancement number 147 compared to 140 in 2016.

"The credit advancement is almost the same as last year but the replacement has more than doubled," Ebbrecht said.

He said the availability of the classes, combined with the transportation, will pay major dividends down the road with the district's graduation rate.

"We don't want students to fall behind in graduation credits," Ebbrecht said. "We want to increases strategies to improve the graduation rate."

He said the district tries different ways to teach students.

"If they fail during the school year, we look at what we can do with a different approach," he said.

Ebbrecht said the district received a grant in cooperation with the Westerville Public Library.

"They have robots students are programming," he said. "It's tied in math and language arts.

"It shows partnerships within our community. It's a great example with the library trying to teach kids using different instructional approaches," he said.

He said the high school program also uses Apex digital content.

"They can work independently at home," Ebbrecht said. "We believe students in the summer don't have to sit in a classroom all day long.

"They can work independently and progress at his or her own chosen pace. We expect them to come in and work with our teachers. All tests are taken with the presence of a teacher," he said.

He said counselors worked with students who were falling behind so they would have an academic plan through Westerville or another educational provider prior to the end of the school year.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla