Kids Escape the Summer Doldrums at Providence High School
By Cindy Ortiz, Staff Writer
BURBANK, Calif. — With budget cuts for summer school programs in public schools, students may not be getting the education they need to move forward. Providence High School (PHS) offers a summer school that is different from any other.
“When I was a kid, I hated school … summer school was like punishment,” says Reece J. Talley, summer school director. “So, I run a summer school that is the complete opposite of that — where kids learn to succeed.”
Six years ago, PHS offered summer school to not only its students, but also to middle school students. Two years later, Talley created a program in which elementary students can also join the program, offering a plethora of exciting courses and camps.
Today, the average summer enrollment of PHS is about two-thirds of the regular school year enrollment, which provides a yearbook camp, sports camp, a visual and performing arts camp (drama camp), enrichment programs, and review/make-up courses.
The summer school is available to any elementary through high school student, who does not necessarily need to be from the Burbank area. “The nice thing about being an independent [private] school is that we take kids from everywhere,” Talley says.
Second graders to eighth graders can enjoy drama camp, in which “students write their own plays, build their own sets, and script their own sword playing; in addition, they put on a huge production in our theatre,” Talley says. This age group also benefits from a one-week volleyball and basketball sports camp — one in June and another in August (in addition to the high school sports team summer programs).
In their study skills course, students will learn, from a child development specialist, how to organize time and material and what their skills sets are, Talley says. This specific course is offered to grades six to ten.
At PHS, there is something for every student in the summer. Even high school students have the opportunity to complete online high school accredited courses through Brigham Young University. Students can do the online summer course work at the campus computer lab.
Students have about a 10-week break of summer, which is a good time to keep their brains activated through academics or sports activities. “They need to keep doing something intellectually … to keep their skills running in the right direction … so in the fall, they are ready to go,” Talley says.
Several students attend summer school to make-up a failed class. “There’s just a negative aspect to that,” Talley says. “We try to turn that around … you’re coming to summer school because you’re succeeding. Summer school should be a happy place — and ours is.”
For further information about the summer program, check the PHS website: www.providencehigh.org. Classes begin on June 25.