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DPIE Summer Academy Fosters Continuous Learning Throughout the Summer

July 5, 2017

DUBLIN, CA–The school calendar in the Dublin Unified School District concluded on May 31st. However, when you drive past Dublin High School, both parking lots are filled with vehicles. The reason for this is that Dublin High School is hosting a Summer Academy for the sixth straight year. This program is a unique collaboration Dublin Unified, Dublin High and the Dublin Partners in Education organization (DPIE). Keep in mind that every public school district does not necessarily offer summer programs. This is generally due to various factors which include student demand, availability of facilities and most importantly, financial resources. Successfully conducting a summer school program includes several significant challenges.

Just consider recruiting qualified teachers that are willing to work an accelerated three week session in any subject. The enrollment of students is an entirely separate process from what DHS ordinarily conducts. Tuition must be collected and documented in a timely fashion. The last key element is monetary support. One of the reasons that this program flourishes is due to the generosity of DPIE, which in turn helps to keep the tuition costs reasonable. How can we characterize the Summer Academy as a success? Consider that in the first year, there were 150 students participating. This summer, Dublin High will serve 1,060 students.

We wanted to take a peek inside this offering. The result is the viewpoints from an administrator and a current student.

Lenni Velez is serving as the Principal of the DPIE Summer Academy. She attained her B.S in Mathematics from California State University – East Bay and subsequently earned a M.A. in Math Education from Stanford University. She began her career at Dublin High School in 2005 and has taught all courses from Pre-Algebra to AP Calculus. After serving on various DUSD councils, Ms. Velez successful completed her Administration credential was also the Coordinator of the HUB. In this past academic year she was elevated to Assistant Principal.

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OneDublin.org: For families that may be unaware and/or have children that are destined for Dublin High School, kindly articulate the breadth and depth of academic offerings through the Summer Academy.

Lenni Velez: “For high school courses in math, we offer Algebra through Trig/PreCalc. In Science we have Biology and Honors Chemistry. We also offer PE. Additionally, we have enrichment courses for middle school that include Automation & Robotics, Computer Programming, Drones, Leadership, Bridge to Algebra 1 and Writing is an Exploration. We always offer more, but only go with the courses that get signups. We want to offer courses that make sense for the students.”

OneDublin.org: Beyond an increase in enrollment, how do you and your colleagues evaluate the success of this program?

Velez: “We analyze grades each summer. For 1st Semester this summer, we had 93% A’s and B’s. I have also gathered data for the previous three summers and looked at their grades in subsequent courses.”

OneDublin.org: If you can, please explain how and why this has been a successful collaboration with DPIE. What has their support and staff meant to the Summer Academy?

Velez: “It has been great because we are teaching Dublin Curriculum and it ensures that our students are receiving a rigorous curriculum that prepares them for their next course. It is great to have our Dublin teachers as leads for each course because again, it ensures that good teaching is happening and everything is getting covered. We also know our teachers and know which ones are a good fit for our program.”

OneDublin.org: Anything else that you would like to add?

Velez: “With the five hours of class at a time, students and teachers are able to get more done and have richer conversations around material. It is a lot of fun to have the students in one room that are passionate about learning. It is also neat because we get students from other districts that bring in different personalities and perspectives.”

“Without using the ‘excuse’ of keeping one’s child busy during the summer, there is a practical rationale. There are numerous published studies that discuss the merits of keeping young people involved many activities year-round. While a summer off the grid has been historically viewed as both a mental and physical break, there is equal data that demonstrates that an academic “stoppage” is not necessarily beneficial to the learning scaffold. Ms. Velez referred us to a soon-to-be senior at DHS that has experienced the Summer Academy both last year and in 2017. Brian Anderson matriculated through Fallon Middle School. He is also a cross country athlete and is a member of the Boy Scouts. He shared his thoughts with us.”

OneDublin.org: Please share your personal experiences about the Summer Academy and would/could you recommend this to your fellow students?

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Brian Anderson: “I have attended the DPIE Summer Academy at Dublin High School for two years now, once for Trigonometry/Pre-calculus and the other for Physical education. I had Ms. Velez for math last summer. While I felt going in that five or more hours of the same subject a day would become exhausting over six weeks, I found the class to be both educational and entertaining. Dealing with Trigonometry and Pre-calculus felt like more of a privilege than a chore towards the end of the summer, and I can attest that my math class was more interesting than I could have hoped for.

“This summer, I am attempting to fulfill my Physical Education requirement for graduation through DPIE, and my teacher is Mr. Branson. Like the previous year, I assumed that half a day of physical labor would be inhibiting to the enjoyment of my summer vacation, but PE turned out to be a great way to both stay in shape and socialize with other students. From team sports to running the track, this experience has thus far been an enjoyable one. I would absolutely recommend this to any student interested in pursuing education during the summer, whether it be for advancing your education or meeting graduation requirements.”

OneDublin.org: As a member of Cross Country, explain how this program has kept you on academic pace and/or how has it helped to “clear out” your schedule

Anderson: “The DPIE program has helped me a great amount with Cross Country, as the fact that I am already on campus incentivizes me to attend conditioning when I may have skipped had I not been a part of the program. However, I feel the program has assisted me even further in meeting my PE graduation requirement, as I am part of the school Engineering Academy. The fact that I am able to take PE over the summer enables me to take an increased quantity of engineering courses when I would have been forced to drop a class to meet requirements. The ability the DPIE summer academy grants to clear out my schedule has helped me further my education at Dublin High School.”

OneDublin.org: As a student you will return to Dublin High as a senior in a few short weeks. What are your goals both academically and athletically? What are your plans post-graduation?

Anderson: “My plans for this upcoming senior year at Dublin High would be to participate in as many competitions as possible, both academic and athletic, to further myself as a person. A few of the clubs I look to participate in are Speech and Debate, DECA, and Gael Force Build. I will also aspire to maintain a solid GPA, while participating in these extra-curricular activities. Athletically, I hope to at least run for our school’s Junior Varsity Cross Country team, a feat only seven individuals can accomplish in any one race. After graduation, I hope to attend a college with strong programs in both Engineering and Business fields, so it would stand to reason that colleges such as UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Stanford are the universities I am most interested in.”

The Academy has just completed the first week of the second “semester.” Our goal was to capture the feedback from both ends of the spectrum. OneDublin.org would like to thank Lenni Velez and Brian Anderson for their thoughts. Alas, all will not be lost. You’ll still have the back end of July to sit back and relax.

 

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