ASHVILLE – For the fifth consecutive year, summer school is being held at Eden Career Tech Center. Principal Adrianne Dodgen said summer school started June 5 and will end July 14 for 82 students in grades 5-12.

“We will take the full week of July 4 off as we always do,” Dodgen said. “All students are from the St. Clair County School System. We use the APEX web-based class program, and students do have the benefit of working at home. They do have to come here to ECTC to take their tests.”

Dodgen said during the first full week, all students have to come to the campus.

“Just to make sure they are logging in,” she said. “Making sure they are on the right track and understand how to operate the program. Working from home is a privilege. If they are making good progress, the teacher will allow them to work from home. The students have contact with the teacher in case they get stuck on anything or if they need something reset. We have about 50 percent of our students working from home.”

Summer school is 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday. Students in grades 5-8 are in one classroom; grades 9-12 are in another classroom.

Dodgen noted there are around 107 courses offered, and some of these students are taking more than one course.

“While a large majority of these students take summer school due to credit recovery, we do have some students who simply want to stay ahead,” Dodgen said. “Or they need to clear their schedule next year because they want to take some advance placement courses. We have one student here who wants to take our fire science program next year.”

Dodgen said they have a grant program again this year that provides the students with breakfast and lunch at no cost.

Jan Murry, a teacher at Ragland High, is in her fifth year teaching summer school.

Chris Conner, an instructor at ECTC, also teaches summer school.

Jill Tidmore serves as an APEX lab aide.

“Some of the students are making up classes while some students are taking classes to get ahead,” Murry said. “Some athletes just need a class they were unable to get in school due to scheduling. This is so much better for them with it being computer-based. We can accommodate so many more students and help them individually, instead of teaching five different subjects in one class.”

ECTC Director Ronnie McFarling said in the five years summer school has been held at Eden Career Tech, they have worked with around 400 students.

“We have about four basic groups of students,” he said. “We have some fifth- through eighth-grade students who have failed enough subjects that they will have to repeat the grade. We try to work with them so they will not have to repeat a grade and get behind in school. Our regular group of high school students have failed one or more subjects, so what they need to do is pass that subject so they can have a normal schedule next year.”

McFarling said they have a small group of students who are taking summer school for original credit.

“There may be a student who will take Spanish I during summer school to free up his/her schedule next year in order to take something else,” he said. “And, we have about 10 students who are seniors who unfortunately did not graduate. They are taking summer school in order to receive their diplomas.”

Contact Gary Hanner at ghanner@thestclairtimes.com.