YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


January 22, 1992

Lots of school districts are trying new things these days, but one experiment has struck our fancy. A small school district in San Diego County has implemented one of the most frequently recommended educational reforms--and has done so within its current budget.

By using summer school funds creatively and reordering budget priorities, the South Bay Union Elementary School District has found a way to significantly lengthen the school year for many students. The program, called CHOICE, is in its second year, and it appears to be paying off scholastically.

Students in the year-round school district can attend up to 45 days above the state-required 180 days, by enrolling in classes conducted during the 3-week breaks between sessions.

These are not remedial "summer school" classes. These are full school days, with free bus transportation, before- and after-school child care programs, and meals.

For teachers, who work for 75% of their usual pay, it's a chance to learn and try different teaching methods.

More than half of the district's 9,500 students have attended at least one session. More would if there was room.

The district follows student performance to see if the extra classes are making a difference. Apparently they are. Scores on the most recent state achievement tests were 7% higher for students who attended two 3-week sessions.

This small school district has shown what ingenuity, determination and cooperation can accomplish without additional funds. Good show.

Los Angeles Times Articles