District to open more summer classes for students on the waitlist

Christina Chen, Author

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The Palo Alto Unified School District will open up five more summer sections of Living Skills this year after many students were placed on the waitlist due to high demand.

“We had set up six classes for rising sophomores, two for rising juniors and two for rising seniors, summer school director Kara Rosenberg said. “But demand was much greater than that.”

According to Rosenberg, the five additional sections will ensure that all the rising juniors and seniors on the waitlist will get a place in one of the classes. After the juniors and seniors either accept or decline their place in the class, about 40 to 50 registration invitations will be sent out to rising sophomores on the waitlist next week.

The summer school office is currently recruiting more PAUSD teachers to teach the additional sections. Some have taught the class before, and others have health backgrounds, according to Rosenberg.

“They may not have training teaching Living Skills, but we will train all of them, probably during the week between the end of high school and the beginning of summer school,” Rosenberg said.

Many students, like sophomore Winston Wang, want to take Living Skills over the summer because the course is condensed. Instead of taking the class for an entire semester, students can get the same credit in only three weeks.

“It [the course] is a lot shorter,” Wang said. “And you don’t have to take home [an electronic] baby.”

This year, registration officially opened at 8 a.m. on Monday, April 8, but a mistake by the registration company caused the sign ups to open earlier at midnight, according Rosenberg.

Parents who found out rushed in to register, causing popular classes to fill up immediately.

“The first session of Living Skills was filled about 30 seconds after 8 a.m.,” sophomore Mari Sato said.

In response, the summer school office closed down the registration for all the sections not filled, and started to take a waitlist online and through phone calls.

Rosenberg stated that they are not sure why this happened, but that she is working to find a different registration system.

“We’ve been using the registration company [Camp Brain] for about five years,” Rosenberg said. “Last year, they put up the high school registration late.”

World History and Economics are also full.

“It’s not definite, but we will probably do some kind of hybrid online program [for world history], probably for the kids with IEPs [Individualized Education Programs] and 504 plans,” Rosenberg said.

This kind of hybrid online program has been used during the school year in restart classes for students who need to retake the first semester of a required course during the second semester.

A new section will not be opened for Economics because it is not a credit recovery class, according to Rosenberg.

“What we try to do in summer school is to meet the needs of kids who need to make up credits,” Rosenberg said. “Summer school used to do more than that, but after the cutbacks in state funding, we feel that it’s our obligation to help kids who are credit deficient.”

High school summer classes will be taking place at Palo Alto High School this year, a break in the tradition of rotating summer school locations between Paly and Gunn High School. This is because all three PAUSD middle schools are closed for construction, causing middle school summer classes to move to Gunn, according to Rosenberg.

“Gunn is moving into a new building in September, and so they preferred to have the shorter session [the middle school summer session],” Rosenberg said. “Paly’s buildings are not ready to open, so the administration here agreed to have summer school here again.”