Today’s news:

80,000 Queens students head for summer school

More than half of the nearly 80,000 Queens elementary, middle and high school students who were set to do the summer school shuffle this week need to pass their July and August classes to be promoted, a Board of Education spokeswoman said.

About a third of the 1.1 million students in the city are going to summer school, the Board of Education said this week, which begins in three phases throughout the city this week and ends in August.

In Queens, where a severe lack of classrooms seats has hampered educators for years, 79,506 students were pre-registered to go to summer school, said Anne Perzeszty, spokeswoman for Queens Board of Ed member Terri Thomson.

Of those students, Perzeszty said, 49,495 are going to summer school because they have to.

“They are mandated to go,” she said. Students who are mandated must pass summer classes or Regents exams given in summer school to be promoted to the next grade.

In the borough’s elementary and middle schools, 13,473 students were mandated to attend summer school, while in Queens high schools 36,022 were required to go.

Summer school in 2000 was initially plagued by attendance problems when a majority of the students required to go did not show up.

In 2001 Schools Chancellor Harold Levy has gone on the offensive to make sure summer school attendance is better by calling homes to remind parents to send their kids.

“We learned from last year that students who were struggling to pass their courses — but attended the five-week summer program — had the academic edge and usually were promoted,” Levy said in a statement.

To get the academic advantage Levy talked about, 30,011 students in Queens were attending summer school for enrichment, or by choice, Perzeszty said.

With 28,526 students slated to attend summer school for enrichment purposes in the elementary and middle schools this year, Perzeszty said, the 1,485 enrichment high school students were a tiny minority.

“Students choose to go to summer school for a variety of reasons,” Perzeszty said. “Some might be encouraged to go, who need re-enforcement or who might need to brush up on certain skills within a subject.”

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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