by Alex Faulkner
As the school year comes to a close, the students of Las Lomas have something to look forward to: summer.
Calculus teacher Karen Lopilato gives summer homework to help her AB students understand the basis of the class.
“We only give summer work in AB, and that’s because they’re coming from a lot of different classes,” says Lopilato. “It makes it more fair, if everybody knows the same amount when they come.”
The summer assignment for Lopilato’s class is brief but descriptive, and gives the students background on what they will be learning throughout the year.
“It’s just two or three page thing,” Lopilato said. “It gets people to recognize what does L and X look like, what does E to the X look like.”
English teacher Will Cautero requires students to read for his AP English Literature class. Over the summer, the students are expected to read a number a modern literary works.
“I always try to pick a contemporary work, so every year or two, or maybe even three, I might change that selection, so this year I’m thinking of a different book than the one I had my students read the last two or three years,” Cautero said. “I had my students read a dystopian novel, because we were going to read 1984 when we got back, so there’s a connection in terms of the type of book it was.”
Cautero has high expectations for his students because the AP literature class is very advanced.
“It’s crucial that they complete the reading, and that they are able to discuss and talk about the books they’ve read in the summer, so that they can make intelligent connections to whatever we read throughout the year.”
English teacher Lori Gieleghem also assigns summer homework.
“I want them to be ready for the pace of the honors class, in this case, honors English 3,” said Gieleghem. “I want their reading, their thinking and their writing skills to stay sharp, because I see too many students, that just kind of go dormant, and that doesn’t help them when we hit the ground running in August.”
Many honors and AP teachers give their students a test on the summer homework upon their return to school. Gieleghem suggests taking notes as a way to stay organized for the test at the beginning of the year. “I would imagine, just from my own brain processes, that that would be really difficult to keep all that stuff straight, and then have to face a hundred question quiz.”
Cautero also has a test for his students when they return. For this, he explains the pros and cons to finishing summer assignments early.
“I think it’s just recalling and reviewing because if a student reads both works in June or the beginning of July, he or she may not have much of a recall the day he or she comes back to school,” Cautero said. “If you plan in doing the work earlier in the summer and you’re not necessarily good at remembering things, you might need to take notes so you can review later, but I really don’t think it’s a difficult assignment.”
The summer homework load ranges according to the class and its difficulty.
“I know that English had several books they had to read. I think some other classes might have had whole chapters to learn,” Lopilato said. “It’s maybe an assignment that takes one or two hours.”
With her sophomore year coming up, freshman Tamari Gurevich is looking forward to an intriguing class in AP Human.
“I want to go into the class knowing what I’m learning, so if I took the summer homework, and I didn’t like learning, like ‘this is boring,’ then I would drop the class. It kind of gives you an insight to what the class is about and it really prepares you for what you’re doing next year, and it gives you an idea of how much work you’re going to get.”
Sophomore Kyle Bramhall is taking his second AP class next year, despite the summer homework.
“I am taking AP US History, and I was assigned a package,” he said. “It was basically on early colonial history of the United States of America.”
Bramhall also described the workload of last year’s summer assignment.
“It basically set up the expectations set for I.D.s, which became a reoccurring, weekly, thing for AP Euro class,” said Bramhall.