Proviso Township High School District 209 is offering a new summer-school program this year, which school officials hope will continue to increase students’ scores on statewide standardized tests.

The district superintendent, Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, called the program exciting.

“Summer school this year has a few new and exciting components,” Collins-Hart said. “When we work toward school improvement, we are also working to offer our students more resources to support their academic growth and advancement. We are particularly excited about our acceleration and enrichment programs which will allow our students to continue to participate in learning activities throughout the summer.”

Dr. Cheryl Pruitt, the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the district, said special enrichment programs will also be offered as part of the summer school program.

“District 209 will provide an enrichment program this summer offering students a college tour, band camps, English as a Second Language (ESL), summer reading, and acceleration courses for credit,” Pruitt said.

Student test scores were higher than last year, but district officials hope scores continue to improve.

Pruitt said students showed improvement in math and science on the Prairie State Achievement Exam.

“In math, 24.2 percent of students district-wide met the [statewide benchmark], compared to 19.8 percent last year,” Pruitt said.

“In science, about 22.4 percent of students reached standards, a significant jump from 19.5 percent the year before,” she added.

At Proviso East, math scores rose from 10.7 percent to 15.4 percent. In science, scores rose from 9.8 percent to 12.4 percent. At Proviso Math and Science Academy, math scores improved from 66.4 percent to 69.3 percent. At Proviso West, reading scores rose from 19.4 percent to 22.4 percent.

Sixteen percent of students were proficient in math, an improvement from 11.7 percent last year. In science 16.3 percent of students met standards, an increase from11.9 percent last year.

Despite these significant improvements, three-fourths of the district’s students are still not meeting the overall state-mandated benchmarks. In each of the exam’s categories – reading, math, writing, science and social science – students must score at least a 77 percent to meet the minimum standards.

Typically, the summer-school program is offered to students who failed two or more classes during the school year as a way to make up the credits. Last year, the district decided to use the program as a way for any and all students to enhance their learning over the summer. This year’s program has four different components, including a free online course for eligible PTHS students, called Project TAPESTRY. The program will offer students a chance to take courses online with a supervising instructor, and help students meet graduation requirements in math, science, English, social studies, world languages and some electives. Pruitt said the online program allows students to proceed at his or her own pace.

She also pointed to the program’s other benefits, such as its sharper focus on freshman students.

“The summer-school program places a special focus on freshman students who have failed a core class to ensure they can move on with their academic development having achieved or strengthened their pre-requisite skills,” Pruitt said. “Students can also use our summer programs as a tool to maintain each year’s learning gains and to prepare for the coming school year. Each course and each grade is a stepping stone. Each year provides the foundation for new skills for the upcoming year. During summer school, because class ratios are very small or even one-on-one, students benefit from receiving quality instruction with fewer distractions.”

Summer school classes will be held Monday through Thursday from June 6 to July 14. The summer school fee is $100.00 per course for in-district students. The driver’s education course is $150.00. All fees must be paid in advance. Session I will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and session II runs from 10:40 a.m. to 1:10 p.m.

For more information, visit www.pths209.org or call (708) 338 5900.

Nick Moroni contributed to this article.