Too many classes? Try summer school!

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Too many classes? Try summer school!

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Entering high school may be overwhelming for many incoming students, whether they are coming from a feeder middle school or are a transfer student. A great way to become accustomed to the new setting is getting a taste of the school by taking summer classes conducted at Highland Park or Deerfield High School.

Entering a new school and not knowing very many people was intimidating. I was no stranger to the nightmare of getting lost in my first days of high school. Having exposure to my school of the next four years provided me with an upper hand in comparison to my peers. I had to opportunity to take Graphic Design, a class which many students hope to take, yet never manage to fit in because of packed schedules from earlybird to eighth period.

Within the class itself, I grasped onto several valuable skills, many of which can be applied to other subjects. Entering the class with no concrete background in art, I initially felt I would not be able to succeed being in an art based environment with no experience, however, I would proceed to prove myself wrong.

To begin with, many students, like myself, had no art background and were starting from the same place as I was. Throughout the course, we were taught fundamentals within the Adobe CS4 programs such as Photoshop and Indesign. Not only was I exposed to graphic arts, but also towards the real world applications of graphic design. Taking graphic design provided me with an artistic background I otherwise would not have had the chance to take throughout my high school career, between the requirements and classes I wanted to take.

Sophomore year introduces students to Health, a graduation requirement students are first able to take during their sophomore year. Once again having a filled schedules through electives and yearly requirements, I opted to take Health over the summer. A six week commitment for two hours a day was the way for me to clear up a period during the year. Many take health over the summer to have a free period during the year, giving themselves more time to focus on other school work. Others choose to fill in this free semester with another elective that they otherwise would not have the opportunity to take.

Health over the summer is also a different experience from taking the same class during the year. During the year, there are journal and portfolios for students to complete, with in my class, we focused on group projects, and take notes based off of powerpoints. Although a day in of class over the summer is two hours, there is a break halfway through the class, as opposed to the traditional 57 minute period of Deerfield cycles schedules.

Of my three summers in summer school, the most helpful year was taking US History before starting my junior year. Another graduation requirement, US History was difficult for me to incorporate in my schedule as I was interested in other classes, few of which were electives, and other which I was simply more interested in taking.

Having the opportunity to take US History outside of a regular school year provided me with the opportunity to do better than I would have during the year. Taking one class at a time enabled me to center my focus on one subject. Had I taken the same class, during the year, I would have been juggling other classes along with extracurricular activities. Not to mention junior year, including the task of working towards taking the ACT and this year, SAT.

By taking a two semester class over six weeks, I was able to open up a full two semester period during my junior year, one I chose to fill in with AP Psychology, as I was more interested in taking psychology rather than another history class. Taking this class over the summer was a great opportunity for me, as I was able to focus on one class over the summer, and jump into my interests during the year.
The idea of summer school is dreaded my many, but has come to save my in terms of my schedule. A small time commitment over six weeks turned to help me throughout the course of my nine month school year. Creating openings to take electives and have free periods are options many should look further into, as it is a wonderful way to create a smoother school year.

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