Non-traditional summer programs provide choice-based credit recovery opportunities

More students are choosing non traditional summer programs to meet state-mandated course requirements for graduation.

Posted Updated
David Larson
, freelance reporter
This article was written for our sponsor, Hargrave Military Academy.

In recent years, the traditional idea of “summer school” has begun to fade.

According to the Center for Public Education, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was a catalyst for improving high school graduation rates and ushered in a new era of credit recovery programs that take on varied appearances in different states.
Students who have experienced missteps during the regular school year can retake courses and recover lost credits through myriad options.The Center for Public Education defines credit recovery as a "structured means for students to earn missed credit in order to graduate from high school."

Different programs allow students to work on their recovery classes over the summer, on school breaks, after school, on weekends or at home on their own. As a result of this shift from traditional, mandated summer school to flexible, choice-based options, more students are choosing non traditional summer programs to meet state-mandated course requirements for graduation.

Adventurous academics

Among the programs geared to students seeking credit recovery are programs that combine physical challenges with a structured academic curriculum.

The Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., provides a High Adventure Camp that is considered one of the finest skills-based technical adventure programs on the East Coast.
Hargrave's summer programs pair fully-accredited academic courses with activities that focus on developing good character, leadership skills and responsibility while enhancing confidence in campers. The High Adventure Camp pairs these academic and character benefits with skills-based wilderness lessons, including basic outdoor survival skills and activities like kayaking, rock climbing, marksmanship, archery, and fishing.
Choosing a quality program

Outdoor or skills-based programs are only one of many options for students seeking credit recovery opportunities. Some students seek out flexible online opportunities, while others prefer face-to-face learning.

There are several factors for parents and students to consider when choosing a credit recovery program; one of those is quality.

For parents and students concerned about program quality, Hargrave Military Academy’s director of enrollment management, Alice Hendrickson, gives advises to "check that the summer program you’re considering is fully-accredited by one of the six regional accreditation bodies in the United States."

Hendrickson added, "And look into whether or not the program teaches skills that can make the difference between academic success and continued academic failure. Our 'How to Study' program is a mandatory course for our cadets, where we cover the eight basic study topics that we have designated as vital to academic success. I've seen students with virtually no study skills flourish in this program."
There is still a debate in the world of education around the value and effectiveness of online education over in-person and classroom experiences. There is no conclusive data, however, to support the claim that online learning is better.

Given the abundance of choices for credit recovery summer programs, parents and students can choose a quality program that best fits their needs.

"Programs that get students moving, improving social skills, learning leadership skills and challenging their fears are an opportunity to add character development as a goal in addition to the required credit recovery," said Dr. Jim Tung, academic dean at Hargrave.

This article was written for our sponsor, Hargrave Military Academy.

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