The number of enrollments in the summer program increased this year by 10 to 15 percent, with 1,071 students signed up by mid-June and a few hundred more students expected to sign up by August. About half of the students are from Harvard-Westlake and half are from other schools.
So far, there have been 1,435 different enrollments, as some students are participating in multiple programs, matching the number of enrollments at the end of last summer, the director of the summer program said.
Jim Patterson told students in a summer journalism course that though Harvard Westlake offers four academic classes– Geometry, Spanish I and II, and French—its primary focus in the summer is on the sports and art camps and enrichment courses.
“Summer should be for enrichment, not acceleration through the curriculum,” he said, adding that some academic courses are needed for incoming freshmen from other schools who have not taken algebra or a foreign language in middle school.
The programs that have sold out so far are Middle School Journalism, with 26 students enrolled, Study Skills, made of two sections of 20 students, and English Essentials, with sections of 16 and 17. Additionally, the boys’ basketball camp has had an increase in enrollments, with an average of 50 to 60 boys enrolled per week. A debate program has also been added to the summer repertoire.
However, the biggest change this summer, Patterson said, is the “tiptoe into the world of international education.” This new development is two-fold, involving a leadership course and a soccer tournament.
In July, 27 Chinese students are expected to board at UCLA for two weeks, engaging in leadership programming for six hours a day, ranging from games to discussions about different leadership styles in the East and West, with nine students from Los Angeles. There are still openings for local students, who can sign up on the summer school website.
This two week program has been planned through the World Youth Leadership Institute over the course of almost two years. Jordan Church, Director of Student Affairs, and Steven Chan, former history teacher, will be teaching leadership.
The International Soccer Tournament, in which two teams from Europe, a team from Mexico, and a Harvard-Westlake team will compete for the Hudnut Cup, will also take place in July. The students will attend speeches and lectures exploring “learning areas outside the classroom,” and play soccer games in the afternoon.
The journalism program, Patterson said, has also grown with 41 kids enrolled, more than ever. Kathy Neumeyer, The Chronicle adviser, is teaching a new journalism course this summer- Investigative Reporting- and the first Middle School journalism course is being taught by Mike Chavez.
In addition to the film program titled “Righteous Conversation,” an organization that facilitates student interaction with Holocaust survivors and make public service announcements about social justices, another program has been added, which is called “I Can, Can We?” a five-day program in which students meet survivors of domestic violence and share their experiences.
However, the size of the film studio, which holds a maximum of 30 to 40 people, as well as large staff required, limits the number of enrollments. Patterson said that the kids in this program work in groups of four or five with a teacher’s assistant, a main teacher, and two to three computers per group.
People hear about the summer program, which has tripled in size since Patterson became director in 2007, though social media and word of mouth. Specifically, Neumeyer reaches out to other high school newspaper advisers, which brings students from other schools to the journalism courses offered.
“The growth is due to added programs such as more journalism courses and debate, growing existing programs, and reorganized enrichment for incoming middle school students,” Patterson said.
Part of the program’s uniqueness, Patterson said, stems from the fact that most of the faculty work full-time at Harvard-Westlake or are affiliated with the school.
He is hoping to expand all of the courses and camps offered, specifically the WSLA international program, and would like to see a steady increase in weeks over the next few years.
“These kids are coming a long way,” Patterson said, “so our goal is to make the program fun and worthwhile from the moment they step off the plane until they go back to the airport.”