Failing a high school class can have multiple negative ramifications. The failing student could now be behind in credits needed for graduation and continuing their education at a 4-year University could be in jeopardy. If a class has been failed the student now needs to figure out how they are going to retake the class. The three most popular options are retaking the class in summer school, retaking the class during the following school year during as one of their class periods, or taking the class through concurrent enrollment as a part-time online student.

Of the three options, retaking a class through summer school is often the most popular choice. While summer school lasts for fewer weeks than a traditional semester, students only take 1-2 classes during summer and meet with each class for 2 hours per day. This extended time in class allows students to have more time to work in small groups for guided practice and gain more direct assistance from the teacher. Also, taking 1-2 classes allows students to direct their time on subjects that need the most attention. Summer school also allows a student to obtain a needed credit as prevention from getting behind in courses. This is seen in classes such as math where a student needs to successfully pass Algebra I before they can move on to Geometry.

I have taught summer school several times during my teaching career and have seen what traits lead to greater success in these classes. Here are five keys to help you obtain success in summer school.

Key #1: Show up on time every day. Each week in summer school covers approximately three weeks’ worth of course material. Because of this, missing more than a day or two during the entire summer may put you so far behind that you are unable to catch up.

Key #2: Come prepared. It is important that you bring your materials each day to class for the same reason that you need to show up every day. The material gets covered so fast that it is easy to get behind very quickly. If work needs to be submitted for credit, you must complete it and have it with you. Teachers can’t grade assignments that are not turned in.

Key #3: Do your work during class and at home. A major reason that many students fail high school classes is that they don’t do their work. You are most likely going to have assignments to complete every day in summer school. Take care of business so at the end of the summer you are not regretting spending most of your summer in a class that you didn’t pass for the second time.

Key #4: Write down assignments. Frequently students have so many things running through their minds that by the time they sit down to their homework, they forget everything that is needed to do. I always recommend that students write down their homework first thing when they walk into class. If students have a Smartphone (iPhone, blackberry, etc.) I tell them to download an app that allows them to make “to-do” lists to keep track of what assignments need to be done.

Key #5: Turn in all of your assignments. Your grade is determined by the number of points earned. The more points you earn the high your grade will be. It’s that simple.