Entering a new school can be a challenge after a summer off, but school districts are having success with programs bridging the summer slide.

A sight that she did not expect to see greeted an assistant principal during the first week of the summer bridge program at Valley High School in Kentucky. 

Bridging the Summer SlideOne of the students who was not registered for the program hopped on the yellow school bus outside his house after telling his parents, and rode in to find out more about what was going on, according to Cindy Berger.  

“Well, what do you think?” she asked the student at the end of the day.

“I think it’s kind of fun,” he told her. “I think I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Valley High School and the newly named Frost Sixth Grade Academy (formerly Frost Middle School) each started summer bridge programs at the end of June as a way to get students who want to participate ready for next school year. All incoming sixth-graders were invited to Frost’s program, and incoming seventh- and eighth-graders were invited to Valley.Bridging the Summer Slide

The schools are undergoing big changes after the school board voted in December to move Frost’s seventh- and eighth-graders to Valley. Both have been named persistently low-achieving schools, and the move was a last-ditch effort to boost students’ scores at each facility.

New principals at both schools — Robert Stephenson at Valley and Faith Stroud at Frost — started the summer bridge programs not only to prepare students for the change, but to work out any problems with staff and schedules before the official school year begins.

The new four-week programs aren’t required, like summer school. They’re not for making up credits. They just provide help for students who want to be better prepared to enter a new school.

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