they won't allow summer school



difficult child told me last week that it doesn't matter if he does his work or not, I can't make him go to summer school because his state tests are to good.

When I had my meeting with VP, SW and spec. ed. teacher I asked them about this. Said he needs to KNOW he has to follow rules and he needs to become more responsible bringing books, homework, paper, pens to class. They told me that NO, difficult child could not go to summer school. (test grades came in themail that day)
School had the grades. Basic = 450, proficient = 520 Advanced = 570. difficult child scored HIGHER than advanced in every subject he was tested for. Therefore he could not attend summer school. It is remedial, and the SD would not allow it!!!
So..he is smart, So he is advanced, gifted whatever...He can't go through life making his OWN rules and doing as he pleases. He needs to be responsible. And If he cannot be responsible then he needs extended education to TEACH him this. They told me there is no way with those test scores he would be able to go.


member since 1999

May be different in Wisc, but in our district "summer school" is a different program than Extended School Year (ESY). ESY *is* a Special Education service and has absolutely zip to do with- scores. "Summer school" here is a remedial program open to all students.

If a student shows regression over breaks, ESY is an appropriate service. Regression doesn't just mean academically - can be socially, emotionally, behaviorally, or with- motor function or speech.

There was a recent post in sped 101 about ESY.

Have you been able to locate an advocate to help you with- your SD? It really sounds like you need someone there in person to help get services for difficult child.

SDs don't tend to be proactive but with- the emphasis on "testing" scores now, I'd point out to SD that while difficult child may be scoring extremely high right now, if his current school performance, caused by *behaviors*, continues it will only be a matter of time before those all imporant test scores start plummeting.


Going Green
I understand your concerns, I have similar problems with difficult child although he doesn't test anywhere near yours. Still though, he thinks he can go through life following HIS rules instead of society's/school etc. Honestly though, I don't know that I would push the summer school issue. He's testing extremely well so he's obviously absorbing the material. I would worry (at least with my difficult child) that if I made him go, he would be disruptive and cause more trouble than it's worth.

My difficult child is 17 now and still thinks, as he always has, that the only rules that are important are his. We have done everything we can to get him to see he has to follow others rules as well to get through life. I don't know that we've really had any sucess at this. He's got it in his mind that's he's somehow special or different and rules don't apply to him unless he's feeling particularly cooperative that day. Nothing we have done or said has made much of an impression with him.

I don't know that you can really "make" someone realize/accept this. Granted, this is just how I feel from dealing with my difficult child but really.......if someone truly doesn't want to do something, can you really make them? I'm not saying to give up, I haven't either. We still try to instill respect for rules/laws, talk with him, work on it in counseling, etc....I just don't see that anything we do though is going to make a difference. difficult child is either going to get it or not and he's going to have to go through the consequences and figure it out for himself.

For you, (in my opinion) I would drop the summer school thing. However, I would find something for him to do that has the potential to reinforce the following of rules, doing what's expected, etc. I know this isn't probably what you want to hear but as I said...Just my opinion based on my own experiences.


New Member
Is your difficult child failing classes? Sorry if I missed this in another post-I'm not always online. I live in southeast Wisconsin. If my difficult child were failing classes (which he is)he would be allowed to take summer school no matter what his state test scores were. My difficult child is in high school. I am guessing your difficult child is in elementary school. Maybe that is the difference.

I have worked at my son's SD for the last 14 years. I know that the summer school program has been greatly reduced due to budget cuts. The classes that are offered are required classes(the fun stuff has been cut). At the elementary level kids in our SD need to have a teacher recommendation for summer school. In high school a failing grade in a required class qualifies students for summer school regardless of state test scores. My difficult child scored average and above average in most subjects but presently he is failing his sophmore year (I am frustrated and sad). I have never pushed summer school on him because he has not been willing to cooperate. If I can't get him to do it during the school year, I am not going to be able to get him to do it during the summer if he is not willing.

If you are looking for some structure to your difficult child's summer perhaps your community has something to offer. Our park and recreation department offers a variety of structured activities for kid to particpate in: sports, arts, creative writing etc,; as well as, supervised activites at playgrounds. We also have a center called the Parents Place that offers a variety of classes for both parents and challenging kids.

Do you think there is a possibility that your difficult child's defiance in school may be related to the fact that he is so advanced? Maybe he needs a more challenging program (G/T programs are taking cuts in our SD). I don't know. I've heard of this type of thing before but don't have experience with it myself. My cousin's son is gifted and he had some hard times growing up...alot of it seemed to be that he was years beyond his peers intellectually and he had trouble "fitting in".


New Member
Where I live it is the same as others have indicated. Summer school and extented school year are two different things. If a student is failing classes then they can go to summer school to catch up on the core subjects. ESY is different and is through the exceptional children's program. Here summer school is free unless it is a high school level and then it costs quite a lot.

My difficult child always got high scores on his end of year testing, but he failed classes in both 7th and 8th grade. They had a meeting at the end of the year to discuss his passing to the next grade or not. They passed him because it seemed clear that he had the knowledge he needed, and the failing was due to him not participating in doing the required work. If they passed him there was no reason for ESY or summer school.

In high school it is different. You need to earn credits. They cannot pass you without you earning them no matter how well you do on the EOC's. You can elect to get your diploma through an alternate testing. The GED.

My difficult child acted very much like yours in school, and we knew that the behavioral problems would follow him right into summer school or ESY. It would not have helped for him to go.

We never knew why his behavior was so out of control, or why the work was not being done until recently. What led us to the answer was that as soon as he was put on a mood stabilizer and his mood swings subsided, and he came out of depression, he was able to tell the psychiatrist what the problem was. It turned out that all those years he had racing and opposing thoughts going through his head. He also was having sensory issues and too much information was coming into his brain. He felt that he could not relate to people. Because of these things he learned poor coping skills, and did not act in an appropriate manner to situations facing him. He could not do most of his work, so he just did not bother to even try. He would write nonsense on the work and turn it in, or just would not bother to turn it in at all.

Standardized test were the only thing he could do well, and I don't know the reason for this. He passed them every year with extremely high scores. He did get something out of being in the classroom, and he has an extremely high IQ.

When the psychiatrist added Zyprexa to the mood stabilizer his thinking problems, sensory and communication issues improved. He is now able to do the work at school, and the behavior problems have subsided.

There might be a reason that your son can't do the work, and it might look to everyone else like he won't do the work. It makes the school even less understanding because he is so smart. I hope that in time you can find out the reason, because either the proper medication or interventions can make a difference.

I see that yours is already on a mood stabilizer, but there might be something wrong about his medication combination that is making it so he is unable to function well enough to do school. It might be the anxiety part that is causing so much difficulty. I believe that some of my son's behavioral issues came from him having a social anxiety. The AP also seemed to help him with this. My son was 15 before we figured out what was causing his behavioral issues.

Are they going to pass him to the next grade? What would he gain by going to school this summer if he is still not going to participate in doing the work?


New Member
We have an extended school year program in our county, too. difficult child has participated the last two summers - once in our local school district and one year at a district program 45 minutes away. He too would not qualify if it was an academic program - but it is a social skills program, mainly. For him, they do mix in some academics because he asks for it, but for the most part, they deal with peer issues and behavior.

Here, they even go on two trips overnight (2 nights away) camping trips at a local boy scout camp. difficult child loves it (except for the hikes - he said he's not "made to be a hiker" - lol :D).

It's been good for our difficult child. The school pays for and busses him to and from - and it keeps the routine up and gives him something constructive to do - with therapy mixed in.

We don't have any non-school-tied programs in our area that we could fall back on if the extended year program didn't exist. And, our difficult child would not succeed in a typical kid day program, so this is perfect.

As a side note, our school district did not inform us of the existence of the extended year program. :mad: An independent county agency advised me of the program and I had to fight for it in a CSE meeting and have it included in difficult child's IEP. Our SD is tight fisted on its budget and I could see that they did not want to provide it, but were backed into a corner and had no choice.

Check around and see what you can find.

Good luck!!