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10 Ideas To Make It Your Most Eventful and Productive Summer Yet!

students learning outside in the summer

Another school year is in the books! Before your student signs off for a summer of poolside fun, consider this – K-12 North American students, on average, are one to five months behind academically because of the pandemic. On top of that, students lose an average of 17-34% of the prior year’s learning gains during summer break. If the challenges of going to school during a pandemic weren’t enough, your student could now go into another school year unprepared. 

It’s time to catch up once and for all. 

Summer is a time to rest and recharge, yet it’s also a space of opportunity to fill in the gaps from years of pandemic disruption. Now, that’s not to say your child shouldn’t still indulge in all the summer festivities, but how confident and prepared will they feel in the fall if they spend just a few hours a week over the summer doing something for enrichment? What if your child took some time to practice something they didn’t have the time to master during the school year or focus on the elective they couldn’t squeeze into their school schedule? 

By spending just a few hours a week doing something academically stimulating, your student can make up any unfinished learning from the year and, better yet, get ahead in preparation for the fall. 

Rethink what summer learning means and have your student try something new, jumpstart their career, connect with their peers, learn from a mentor, build their resume, and earn school credit, all while having a positive and productive summer experience. 

As you plan your child’s next moves this summer, share these options with them. 

Get back on track

Do you need to finish the rest of a class or recover any credits? Our courses are competency-based, which means if you need to complete a portion of a class, you can enroll in individual competencies that cover the remaining material. It’s like summer school but better because instead of sitting in a classroom all day, you can learn anywhere, any time, and for free if you are a New Hampshire resident. Before you enroll, be sure to have a chat with your guidance counselor, who will be able to direct you to the VLACS course and competencies that will meet the academic criteria required to transfer the credit to your school. 

Take your skills to the next level

Didn’t have room in your schedule for a particular elective? You don’t have to miss out! This summer, pick up a new skill and explore a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about. Are you artistic? Let your creativity shine, and try our drawingpainting, or Adobe courses. Are you tech-savvy? We have a bunch of timely and relevant technology courses that can help you learn how to design a video gamebuild a robotcreate animations, or code! Do you want to learn a new instrument? We can teach you how to play PianoGuitar, and Ukulele! There are dozens of options to choose from! Go to the learning catalog and see for yourself!

Explore Careers

If you have a few hours a week to spare over the summer and could benefit from some soul-searching, the Career Exploration offering is your perfect match. In just 4-6 weeks, we’ll issue you 1/8 credit for exploring your interests, talents, strengths, and abilities while identifying careers that align with them. You’ll discover how much money you could earn in your chosen field, the educational background you’ll need first, and pathways to advance in those roles. Then, you’ll get to meet real experts who work in the industry you are exploring through a program we call Career Connections – webinars for students about a career hosted by professionals. 

If you are considering a healthcare career, check out this resource. It lists several health science careers and even has a self-assessment you can take to narrow down your search. If you are ready to jumpstart your career, there are a few upcoming opportunities that may interest you; like ​​Applewood Center, which is offering part-time, full-time, and per diem LNA positions to high school graduates looking to earn money while they learn about the nursing field. NH Needs Healthcare Caregivers is another program for high school students ages 16 years and older looking to become licensed nursing assistants. The program pays for training and licensing costs as you learn new skills, get academic credit, and gain clinical hours. If you pursue these experiences, be sure to enroll in the micro-internship offering to earn academic credit! 

Do a Job Shadow or Micro-Internship  

Curious about a particular career? Consider doing a job shadow or micro-internship. Each offering is a great way to get an inside look at a specific role you are thinking about pursuing and also a chance to start networking with professionals who may even be able to connect you to job opportunities in the future. Of course, if you follow this path, make sure you enroll in our job shadow or micro-internship offering so that you can receive support from a VLACS instructor and high school credit.

Attend a UNH Camp

The University of New Hampshire is offering several camps throughout the summer for middle and high school students. We partnered with UNH so that as students are in the camp, they can earn academic credit too! Even if you aren’t planning on attending UNH, you are still welcome to participate in any of their camps, ranging from sports camps to STEAM-focused camps. Visit the learning catalog to view all of the UNH programs you can earn credit for, then register for the camp you’d like to attend and enroll in the corresponding VLACS micro-internship offering. 

Pursue an Apprenticeship

Are you interested in becoming skilled in a specific trade or profession? Apply for an apprenticeship! An apprenticeship is like an internship but differs in that it lasts longer and typically leads to certification and employment. They allow you to earn and learn since they are paid positions and provide both hands-on and instructional training. Some apprenticeship programs begin in high school, so if this sounds like a good fit for you, start your search now!

Several open apprenticing positions are available through ApprenticeshipNH, a grant-funded program through the Community College System of NH (CCSNH). There are currently open positions for Medical Assistants, Line Cooks, Plumbers, Carpenters, Automotive Technicians, Insurance Associates, Machine Operators, and more!

Attend a summer enrichment program

Attending a structured program over the summer that focuses on exploring an interest or hobby is an excellent opportunity to make connections, ignite your curiosity, and build your confidence. 

Austin17House is a free resource facility in Brentwood, NH, that provides supportive programming to middle and high school students. Austin17House offers wellness and recreation programs like yoga, Zumba, mindful walking, creative art programs through music, theatre, culinary, and media, and college and trade school exploration. To learn more about how you can connect with the Austin17House community, visit their website. 

Arts in Reach (AIR) is another nonprofit that will host several summer programs for teenage girls and gender expansive youth ages 11-18 FREE of charge! AIR is an interactive and collaborative program that focuses on supportive, safe, and inclusivity for teens to explore their creativity.

The programs feature professional teaching artists who balance self-expression and high-quality arts instruction. Free transportation is also available. To learn more about AIR and the programs they will be offering, check out their website.  

Go to a college or career fair

Whether you are interested in pursuing a career after high school or attending university, go to a fair! Many college and career fairs feature tables of personnel representing their business or college, panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and more. Gong to a fair will help you network, get connected, and be informed about your options.  

Join a club 

Joining a club is a fantastic way to interact with your peers around a common interest, but it’s also an opportunity to build communication, teamwork, leadership, and networking skills, which are a plus on your portfolio. 

If you are interested in government and policymaking, consider joining the New Hampshire Legislative Youth Advisory Council! The Council meets once a month in Concord for two hours. During the meetings, you will learn how to engage with the democratic process, advocate for your beliefs, and lead your peers. Better yet, you’ll even get to collaborate with New Hampshire State legislators! Submit your application (attached to the left) to [email protected] by June 30th!

Create your own Experience

If none of the opportunities above pique your interest, then design your own Experience! An experience is a customizable learning option that may incorporate travel, work, independent study, or service-learning. To earn credit for the experience, you’ll work with your VLACS instructor to determine how the experience will meet the academic competencies within a subject, like history or English. Simply choose an area of interest you’d like to explore, secure a professional (or work with one of our pre-approved professionals) who works in that related field, and contact us so we can help you enroll in the appropriate offering.

Ready to kick off your summer? Visit our website to enroll or attend an open house, and we’ll help you get started. Remember, VLACS is open year-round. Whether your child takes a class with us or you decide to enroll them as a full-time student, we are always ready to support their learning needs. When it’s time to make the next move, keep us in mind. 

Have a great summer!