The Salisbury Summer School offers high school and middle school summer programs on our Connecticut campus. Our school was founded in the belief that a student’s skills and study techniques determine to a great degree his or her success in school. We embed proven methods of time-management, note taking, reading comprehension, writing, vocabulary building and math into each class. Study skills are not what we teach but what we do each day, in each class, across the curriculum. Class size ranges from about six to 10 students, with larger sections having more than one instructor. In nearly all cases, a student’s faculty advisor will also be one of his or her classroom teachers, thus allowing maximum contact and opportunity for development.
Five unique aspects of this program have been developed over time and have been proven to be highly successful in meeting our objectives with our students. These include the following:
Critical Reading and Executive Skills (C.R.E.S.)
The core of the summer school curriculum, CRES, is a content-based class in which students apply active learning skills in a Harkness-type setting and engage in teacher facilitated discussion. A rich selection of novels, short stories, poetry, articles and literary essays, selected by the teacher, helps students develop critical reading, writing and discussion skills. Students learn how to make important critical observations including self-to-text, world-to-text and text-to-text.
Assessment in Place of Grades
Unlike other high school and middle school summer programs in Connecticut, our approach is to provide extensive feedback on student performance on a weekly basis. We determine a baseline of student ability and carefully measure improvement. Academic advisors meet regularly with advisees to create a personalized plan for the upcoming week. At program’s end, we provide parents, students, consultants and schools with extensive narrative reports on the academic, social and extracurricular progress made by each participant. The advisor summarizes specific recommendations for the upcoming academic year. We also include writing samples and offer parents a chance to conference with advisors on the final day before our awards ceremony.
Reading Hour and All-School Read
Reading is a serious pursuit at Salisbury Summer School. Students in our middle school summer program read an average of eight hours per week and maintain a reading log of books and genres explored during their five weeks here. We encourage students to bring along required summer reading from their sending school so it can be completed while they are here. In addition, each summer we select an all-school novel and theme for every member of the community to enjoy, discuss and debate. The program culminates with student musical performances, readings and skits followed by a themed all-school feast!
Standardized Test Improvement
Test preparation is another important component of our middle and high school summer program. The rigor and extensive reading, writing, math and vocabulary curricula not only helps improve student skills and confidence but also improves student performance on state and national norm-based standardized assessments. We also offer an optional course that concentrates exclusively on SAT/SSAT preparation for students entering the college or independent school admissions process.
College Advising and Independent School Admissions Workshops
For rising 11th and 12th grade students entering into the college process, we offer college advising sessions and a workshop to help get the college application process moving forward. Students will leave the program with a sample 650-word essay based on the most current Common Application writing prompt. They will also have a small list of colleges to consider that meet their interests and academic profile. For those considering applying to an independent boarding or day school, we offer an Admission’s Workshop consisting of three one-hour sessions with Salisbury Admissions Director, Peter Gilbert. Mr. Gilbert will provide to parents and students the most important steps to take and decisions to consider when applying to an independent school.