Summer School

Summer School

Summer School

Summer is approaching and the academic year is getting close to an end for many kids attending schools in Canada. Kids are happy, of course! After a full year of hard work at school, responsibilities, home work, assignments, tests, they will finally get their well deserved time-off to enjoy their friends, families, and hopefully good weather.

But this is also the time of the year when parents are questioning whether Summer School is a good idea for their kids. Will summer school benefit their kid’s development? Or is it pushing them too much?

Well, we went looking for some answers to help parents choose whether Summer School is the best choice for their kids. We talked to Ms. Mary Eby, Student Counsellor at Pattison High School, to find out what are the pros and cons (if any) of Summer Schools.


Student Counsellor

Ms. Mary Eby and a student, during a counselling session.


So, when to consider summer school?

  • Student fails a course during the academic year. They would have an opportunity to re-take that particular course in the summer without compromising their expected graduation date.
  • Student has not completed a course with a good mark, they can re-take the course in order to upgrade their grades. When retaking a course, only the higher marks are reported back to the Ministry of Education, who is responsible for issuing transcripts.
  • Student wants to complete courses in order to meet the Graduation requirements as quick as possible (Fast Track Graduation).


But summer school is not only about making up for failed classes, unsatisfactory grades or gaps in their knowledge, or even finishing school faster, it can also be an opportunity to preview challenging courses that students will start in the following academic year. It is a great chance to learn a subject at a glance, without being too pressured for a final mark. Once students join the course in September, they can be much more prepared and aware of the topics that will be covered, and will give them a better opportunity to achieve a higher mark.

Another advantage that Ms. Eby points out is the fact that some kids perform way better once they are focused on one single subject. During the academic year, students have to handle at least 8 different subjects, and it can be a little bit overwhelming for some of them. The opportunity of taking one or two courses in the summer, and only focusing their attention on those subjects gives them an opportunity to achieve better results. Summer school classes tend to be smaller and students receive more individualized attention.

Ms. Eby recommends that students be aware of the work load they will have during those 6 intensive weeks. They will have to learn the whole subject in such a short period of time. Make sure that your kid will dedicate at least 2 hours of extra study at home, per day, to be able to complete all the required work. And if they do not respond well to situations that put them under pressure, well……perhaps summer school it is not a good idea. Specially if the purpose is to earn full credit for that subject. Or maybe you should consider only one course, so they can also have some free time to enjoy their vacation.

Whatever your choice is, make sure that as a parent you offer your support. And most importantly, try to provide some rewards for their positive achievements, as well as encouragement in the failure. Isn’t it nice when our hard work is recognized by people? Or the support we get when something goes wrong, telling us that we cannot give up? So, why not do the same with our kids?


DSC_1371 (2)
Ms. Eby worked at the Vancouver School Board as a Counsellor for over 30 years. About 6 years ago, after retiring from VSB, she joined Pattison High School where she was given an opportunity to keep doing what she is passionate about: supporting students and staff.