M. Terry / SFVS

Summer classes have begun at 71 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) high schools and —  for the first time in several years — the district is offering elective and enrichment courses, as well as classes in core academic subjects for students needing to make up credits.

Approximately 65,000 students are enrolled in more than 2,500 classes during the most robust summer session since the recession. In addition to the high school classes, the district is offering a summer “bridge” program at more than 120 elementary and middle schools, where students are receiving supplemental instruction in English and math.

“We are very pleased that we are able to extend summer learning opportunities to so many students,” said District Superintendent Michelle King. “By offering a slate of electives, credit-recovery courses and academic supports, we are reinforcing our commitment to personalizing the educational experience and helping our students succeed.”

Summer classes will run for 24 days, with two periods of 2 1/2 hours each that will start at 9 a.m. and noon. That’s an hour later than previous years; officials hope the extra time will improve student attendance and punctuality.

The district is also providing counselors to act as “case managers” in supporting students and helping them overcome hurdles that might otherwise derail their progress toward graduation.

In addition, the program is being rebranded as “summer term” so that students will come to see the classes as simply an extension of the regular school year.

“LAUSD is shifting mindsets toward increased excellence with the concept of ‘summer term’ rather than ‘summer school,’ as we prepare students to consider ongoing learning,” said Dr. Frances Gipson, chief academic officer.

“Our educators have engaged in ‘mastery learning’ professional development to calibrate and reach high expectations,” she continued. “These expectations are supported by counselors being present this summer, alongside teacher leaders, who will guide professional learning to support the differentiated needs of students — much like a coach. And, we are proud to bring back enrichment and ‘bridge’ programs for students.”

This year’s summer term stands in sharp contrast to those during the recession, when the district served just 5,000 students at 16 high schools.

With an allocation of $2 million for this summer, the district will offer credit-recovery courses in English, math, science, social science, world languages, physical education and health.

In addition, electives are being offered at Hollywood and Los Angeles High schools, Foshay and International Studies Learning centers, and Cleveland Charter High School. Courses include graphic design, photography, stage design, computer science and beginning dance.

Summer term is administered through the district’s Beyond the Bell Branch. For a complete list of schools, see btb.lausd.net.

“We’re back on track to being able to offer more than just credit-recovery courses,” said Alvaro Cortes, executive director of Beyond the Bell. “It’s great that we finally have the ability to add expanded programming for our students.”