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Teachers are in the midst of selecting and registering students for Kiwanis Summer School

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - A fifth year of Kiwanis Summer School will be offered.

The Crook County School District Board recently gave the Kiwanis Club of Prineville the go-ahead to offer a fifth year of Kiwanis Summer School, voting to pitch in $10,000.

"The CCSD Board is proud of the partnership between CCSD and Kiwanis regarding summer school," said CCSD Director of Curriculum and Instruction Stacy Smith.

The program has remained the same with only minor adjustments since its beginning in 2014.

Local elementary school teachers recommend students they believe would benefit from summer instruction. For seven weeks each summer, as many as 90 students who have just completed kindergarten through third grade have a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday schedule with busing, breakfast and lunch provided by the school district. The $50 registration fee is totally refundable upon 90 percent attendance.

In the past, there have been four classrooms, one for each grade level, that can accommodate around 20 students. They focus on reading and math skills. Held at Crooked River Elementary, each classroom has a teacher, a certified aid and a student aid.

Wayne Looney, a Kiwanis Club member who heads up the Kiwanis Summer School program, said teachers are currently in the process of registering students.

Depending on the number of students who attend, there will be three or four classrooms.

"If we are down there in the 70 numbers, then we'll do three classrooms," Looney said. "They'll be blended by skill set."

Smith said they have seen academic outcome improvements in students who participate.

"Most students have seen growth in both math and reading, and at the very least, all students that have participated have not regressed over the summer, the phenomenon known as the 'summer slide,'" he said.

Looney said the club would like to maintain this program.

"We see great value in it for the community and for our children. Our outcomes prove the value of it, and it is well received by the school district and the community," he said.

Although the two organizations have not committed to a sixth year of summer school, Smith said their partnership has been great and the Kiwanis organization has been easy to work with.

"I believe everyone has been pleased with the success," he said. "Each organization needs to evaluate any financial concerns before moving forward."

Kiwanis provides funding for teachers and instructional assistant salaries, and the district covers the cost of transportation and associated payroll costs — employer-paid taxes and benefits.

The Kiwanis Club foots $12,000 of the bill, funds that they raise by selling candy at Christmas time and at the annual golf tournament. They also have several prominent donors.

"This is one of the projects I want to keep my hands on, and I'm going to do my best to continue to do it as long as we continue to have the support from the school district with the associated costs," Looney said. "Our Kiwanis group would very much like to see this go forward because of the value it offers to our kids."

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