SOME 1,200 seniors in the District's public high schools who need summer-school credits to graduate now have the chance to get them, because of the civic-mindedness of officials at the Potomac Electric Power Company and the sense of duty of District school officials. Last fall, school officials eliminated the $500,000 summer-school program in an effort to relieve the strain on their budget. Then they began devising ways of providing for those seniors in need of summer school by expanding the evening-school program, for program, for one example, and "recycling" courses so that seniors could take them again during the school year. By early spring, however, it had become evident their efforts had fallen short of the need.
Last month PEPCO's community relations manager, Van Alexander, heard that the school system would offer no summer program and asked school officials if PEPCO could help. After several meetings between PEPCO and school officials, the utility company gave the school system $6,000 and pledged to raise an equal amount from the city's business community. School officials then scraped together another $6,000. That money will enable the school system to hire 15 teachers to provide instruction for 900 seniors who need credits in English, mathematics, social studies or physical education. An additional 300 seniors will be able to gain needed credits in these subjects because 35 teachers and administrators, including the schools' chief fiscal officer and its chief curriculum supervisor, have volunteered to teach courses, grade papers or counsel students.
At its conclusion, school officials will evaluate the program to determine whether such a joint public-private effort should be continued and expanded. Meantime, says school Supt. Vincent Reed, the joint effort "satisfies the needs of an important group of our students." For that, PEPCO and the participating officials are entitled to the thanks of the community.