By Jennifer McGraw

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Thousands of students are about to attend mandatory summer school.

Last year, the Sacramento City Unified School District fell below the state and even local academic standards.

To many students, summer school may sound like a punishment, when really the district believes it’s a bonus.

“Providing summer school is a great start,” said Liz Villanueva, a teacher at Luther Burbank High.

Villanueva has been teaching Spanish for 14 years and said some of her students need the extra help.

“A better education, more access to college readiness, and to have the opportunity to know how to make the best decision for themselves,” she said.

Those students who fall behind in their grades may be expected to attend summer school. It affects 4,300 students this summer.

“Most of our students, 80 percent actually, by the time they hit 10th grade they are not achieving grade-level readiness,” said district spokesman Alex Barrios.

In fact, Sacramento City Unified said 1 in 5 students don’t graduate high school.

The district has invested $3 million into the Expanded Learning Summer Program that will help students struggling in core classes.

“Purpose is to really catch students up in reading and writing in English language arts and math,” he said.

Barrios said most parents have had a positive response.

One grandparent, well known in the district, said he’s been waiting for students to get the opportunity.

“I am so glad that they finally hit the ground running for the kids because we want these kids to be in the classroom, not taking vacation,” said Alex Visaya.

For now, the program is only open and mandatory for students and the hope is to get them back in line.

“We want to make sure when they come back in the fall, they are ready for their coursework,” Barrios said.

School principals will be notified which students will be automatically enrolled in summer by the end of April.

Summer classes start right after school ends.

Elementary and Middle School Programs
June 18 to July 26
Monday through Thursday
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

High School Program
June 18 to July 19
Monday through Thursday
8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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