Summer School Academy ends with celebration

The children of farm workers who migrate to Colusa County so their parents can work in the region’s bountiful agriculture industry demonstrated this summer that they have the same goals in education as students who live in the community year-round.

The Colusa County Office of Education’s Summer School Academy and Migrant Education program concluded last Wednesday with an open house at the Education Village, in Williams.

The Clausura ceremony was the last official activity of the program, and included a number of musical performances by the students.

The Summer School Academy is a partnership between Colusa and Butte County offices of education, Williams Unified School District, Woodland Community College, and CalKidz, and provided summer educational opportunities to junior high and high school students. In addition to migrant students, local students also enrolled in the summer school program largely to recover credits and combat summer learning loss, said Principal Leticia Castaneda.

This year’s program had 19 students in the English Language Development class, for which they received credit for attending, and 95 students who took the credit recovery program.

“Basically, the credit recovery program is a program that gives students an opportunity to remediate credits that they need for graduation, for promotion, or perhaps to play sports, get work permits, or maybe just to get back on track to graduate or meet a-g requirements so they will be college-ready when they graduate from high school,” said Counselor Robert Tamayo. “This summer has been very successful, and has been very enjoyable.”

Counselor Jennifer Carter said of the 95 students who took the credit recovery program, most received the credits they were lacking.

“Of the junior high school students, 90 percent completed what they needed to do,” Carter said. “Of the high school students, 76 percent have completed and moved on, but 100 percent of the high school students who came completed at least one class. In all, we did 68 classes in the last 5.5 weeks, which is the equivalent of 340 high school credits – more than what one high school student would get in four years of high school. So when you look at it as a big picture, the group was very, very successful.”

The summer program also included a rigorous college enrichment course.

Williams High School alumna and 2013 graduate Ana Leos, a counseling intern from California State University, Sacramento, said high school students in the Summer School Academy spent part of their summer researching four-year universities.

“The past six weeks I had the opportunity to guide students about the possibilities of one day attending a four year university and becoming college graduates,” Leon said. “We can sometimes become intimidated by the idea of attending a four year university, however, three of the past six weeks we had the opportunity to investigate the different routes, different options, and different costs so that these students can one day accomplish that goal.”

On top of their summer coursework, Leos said her aspiring college students joined her on a tour of California State University, Sacramento.

“This tour was an introduction to their college research,” she said. “Then, in groups, students selected a university to do research on.”

During the open house, which included a dinner, students presented their research on four State universities, located in Sacramento, Long Beach, San Francisco, and San Diego.
In addition to math, English, and other coursework, students studied music, art, and culture, which were taught by Williams High School’s new music instructor Guillermo Martinez Magana.

Magana said he enjoyed teaching the students to folk dance, sing, and play the guitar, which they performed at the Clausara ceremony.

Also during the ceremony, Colusa County Office of Education staff presented a thank-you gift to Lupe Ojeda, of Williams, who was in charge of the kitchen staff during the summer school program, and also cooked the dinner for the June 18 ceremony.

Ojeda and her husband, Jesse, donated the water and beverages for the dinner, and La Fortuna, in Williams, donated all the tortillas and salsa.

Colusa County Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Maria Arvizu-Espinoza, and Summer School Principal Leticia Castaneda served as the masters of ceremonies.