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Summer school to be in session

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

School districts across the state are scrambling this week to begin summer school. The Missouri General Assembly voted as they adjourned to fully fund the popular program, giving districts little time to put a program in place.

The Monett R-1 School District had summer school coordinators Jeff Wilcox and Sara Garner prepare plans for a remedial program and a full summer school program. According to Assistant Superintendent Julie Germann, word was sent out to parents on Friday as soon as the legislature's action was confirmed that full summer school would be offered.

Monett's summer school will start on June 2 and run for 18 days from approximately 7:30 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. each day. Registration needs to be completed this week.

Summer school serves several purposes, Germann said. Extra class time offers students an opportunity to make up remedial work or boost core skills. Class sizes are also kept smaller to give students extra attention.

Germann said enrollment is significant at the high school. Summer school offers an opportunity to get additional credits, freeing up schedule slots during the regular year to take classes that would otherwise be unavailable due to required commitments.

According to Wilcox, Monett will have the same summer course offerings as last year. The elementary level will focus on enrichment, learning maintenance and creating a fun atmosphere for teaching core subjects. The high school level will have a lot of credit recovery activity and popular courses like driver's education.

Wilcox said close to 900 students attended Monett's summer school last year. He had 550 students registered by Tuesday and expected the total to get near 700. Wilcox had 37 teachers signed up to present classes and anticipated the number could rise by three or four more.

Monett will again offer bus service for summer school. Germann said buses will be limited, probably starting with five and making one stop per neighborhood. Free breakfast and lunch would again be offered, thanks to a program through the United States Department of Agriculture.

In the Purdy School District, Newton Learning has a three-year contract to provide summer school dependent on state funding. Although the state had sent mixed signals about having or not having the program, the board had maintained plans throughout to offer a program of some kind.

Jeff Swadley, summer school director, told the Purdy School Board on Monday he was moving quickly to sign up students. Classes start in Purdy on Monday and run through June 24 from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.

Swadley said he had 250 students registered to participate on Monday. He hoped to raise the number to 300 by Friday, at which point Purdy would be able to recoup a profit under the contract with Newton.

The Pierce City R-6 School District was ready to cancel summer school. Plans are ramping up to have classes starting on June 1.

"It's been pretty frustrating to say the least," said Superintendent Russ Moreland. "We're not in a position to put out the expense without state money."

An all-call to families was made on Monday, informing parents to expect information coming home with students. If information does not come home, parents are urged to call the school office. Officials hope registration can be completed this week.

Last year Pierce City had 134 summer school students at the elementary level, 72 at the middle school and 103 at the high school. A comparable student load would require about 15 teachers for this year, Moreland said.

"We will not run transportation for summer school," Moreland said. We will have a meal program. The food service director has been talking about what to do so we're not starting from scratch."

For the first week classes will run Tuesday to Friday. On the other weeks, summer school is scheduled for Monday through Thursday. The last day will be June 24.

The Verona R-7 Board of Education cancelled summer school in April. According to a spokesperson for Superintendent Bill Sweet, teachers needed at least two weeks to plan for such an undertaking and didn't have it. Families also needed more time to secure childcare.

Last year the Verona district had around 115 elementary students in summer school and 70 at the high school. About 15 teachers and staff were needed to cover the 13 grade levels.



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