Do it right the first time, or do this…


“If you don’t have time to do it right,
when will you have time to do it over?”
-John Wooden, basketball coach

An appropriate variation of that quote for high school students….

“Do it right the first time, or do this…..

This year…

Wednesday – Last Student Day
Friday – Graduation
Monday – Memorial Day

So school is out and many students experience two weekdays and a holiday before going back to school for several more weeks — starting at 8:00 am every weekday morning.

NOTE: Yes, there are other reasons (besides taking classes over) for summer school, such as:

  • freeing up a spot during the year (maybe for band)
  • re-taking a class to raise a GPA
  • just because you want to learn more about a subject

Those are all legit…..keep doing those.

But for most….summer is to retake a class students failed during the semester.

This happens…

every year

every year

every year

…and for years, I have debated when the best time is to discuss it.

DURING THE SUMMER, as the band is rehearsing and some of our students are starting each day at 8 am, there is absolute agreement on how terrible summer school is, but it seems too late to warn them about it. And next year is so far away.

BEGINNING OF EACH SEMESTER seems appropriate to encourage students to “do it right the first time”, but, of course, they are going to do that. Nobody is thinking summer school in August or January, except that they hated it the last time.

We try to talk to students struggling in classes and to make them aware that, when classes have to be re-taken, that counselors tend to pull students out of the arts or unrequired classes to retake those failed the first time.

When we have that conversation, almost without exception, the response is…..

“I’m re-taking that class in summer school.”

Over the years, the following are some of the types of individual student grade-related conversations I’ve had.

I see that you are interested in going to
Leadership Camp this summer. You have
a lot of leadership potential, but how do I
justify a leadership position when you
can’t take care of your own grades?


I can’t consider you for Drum Major because…


All our end-of-year band awards have a
good student or citizenship component
that you do not meet.


How can I recommend you to be a
responsible employee if you cannot
demonstrate that you can be a
responsible student?


As you approach junior/senior year, do
you know what class the guidance
counselors will pull you out of to make
up or retake a class you failed the first

What can I say, and when is the best time to convince teens to get it right the first time to avoid Summer School?

17 yrs experience as a high school band director. 14 yrs as college adjunct faculty. 30+ yrs in the fundraising industry and 24 yrs as a small business owner. (Don't add all those up.). Experience in both the fundraising sales and education worlds give me a unique combination of perspectives in both. I love working with the youthful enthusiasm of today's teenage achievers and with those who work with them. Also 4yrs as proprietor of, which offers a wide variety of virtual services including web/blog design/hosting/managing, social media management (scheduling posts/tweets for maximum impact and brand enhancement) and small business consulting - specializing in school product fundraising.

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