WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School recently concluded its first-ever summer school cohort, "The West Orange Public Schools Summer Institute Credit Recovery." The program, which launched in July, is free to West Orange residents and includes Algebra I, Geometry and English 9 and 10.

This summer's course teachers included Lori Bollotta, Young Kim, Charlene Muldrow, and Theresa Harris. The courses were extended to students from nearby school districts at a rate of $340 per course, which is considered competitive with other local school districts.

Two sessions were offered five days week, and Summer Institute Coordinator Dana Peart reported great success with the program over the summer.

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“Our enrollment data is quite impressive," she said. "We have a total of 57 students enrolled, one of which is from another school district. Out of the 57 in-district students that did not pass these Math and English Language Arts courses, 52 of these students enrolled, which is 91 percent of that population.”

Peart said that the district plans to achieve 100 percent participation next summer. 

“Moreover, we have three students enrolled in an additional course solely to increase proficiency, rather than for credit restoration,” said Peart, who added that she has received positive program feedback from both teachers and students alike.

“Despite this being a summer program, students are enthused about learning,” said English teacher Charlene Muldrow.  

“The program is very helpful because it gets you to the next grade,” one math student said. “It’s like having a second chance.”  

In addition, the final three days of the program were reserved for mandatory PARCC testing, giving students the opportunity to pass or improve their previous test scores.

“It has been my experience that life affords us few second chances and this program is providing our students with just that; an opportunity to recover course credit, as well as remain on schedule for graduation,” said Peart. “I am proud of our students because they are working hard and learning, cognizant of the fact that their efforts are an investment in their personal success, as opposed to a loss of vacation time.”