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Changes made to account for COVID-19 as session scheduled to take place in July and August

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kiwanis Summer School, soon starting its seventh year, is intended to help students avoid the summer slide and prepare for next school year.

As summer gets into full swing, the Kiwanis Summer School is once again ramping up to serve students who have completed kindergarten through third grade.

The summer school was first opened the summer of 2014 to serve students in those grades who were under-performing in school. Teachers recommend students in the spring who they believe can benefit from the summer school opportunity. Over the past six summers, the Kiwanis Summer School has served as many as 400 students, with outstanding results.

"We wanted to provide them an opportunity so they didn't suffer from the summer slide, and they would return not as the least-prepared kid in the next grade level and then face failure," commented Kiwanis member Wayne Looney.

He noted that this mindset is what prompted them to go before the school district in 2014 to form a collaboration between the Kiwanis Club and the school district. By sharing costs, the partnership has allowed more students to receive the additional support of the program. Last October, based on the 2019 summer school season, Curriculum Director for CCSD Stacy Smith reported encouraging results, which included 43 students completing the 2019 program.

Smith added that there are some COVID-19 restrictions this season. There will be two classrooms for each grade level, and there is a maximum of 10 per classroom.

"We are going to have a teacher and an aid working two classrooms at a time to keep it at the ten (number)."

He added that requirements include social distancing at all times, although they won't be required to wear a mask. The same groups of 10 will remain consistent, including at meal time.

The requirements also affect how many students can ride the bus. They are tracking the families who have requested transportation services, since even the largest buses can only have 13-14 students with social distancing in place.

For families upon signing up, there is a $50 fee, which is refundable to families of students who maintain a 90% attendance rate. A regular school day is 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Bus routes include roundtrips.

The school district is responsible for associated payroll costs and transportation. The latter includes the wages for bus drivers, the time involved, and the transportation costs the schools district also provides the space for the summer school. Kiwanis is responsible for staff wages for teachers and assistants.

"We do need 10 more third graders and seven more kindergarteners. The other grades are full," emphasized Smith. He added that they will cap their total enrollment at 80 students.

The lead teacher is Natalie Godat, who teaches at Crooked River Elementary throughout the school year. Summer School will once again be held at Crooked River Elementary. Each grade level for summer school includes a certified teacher, a certified teacher's assistant, and a student assistant.

"This will be my second year as the head teacher of summer school," said Godat. "I have worked with the Kiwanis summer school program for four years, teaching second grade, which is what I also teach during summer school."

Godat said that staff are there to support their students and to minimize any summer/ COVID slide that will occur.

"This year, with our students being out of the classroom since the middle of March, it is even more important to help as many students as we can," indicated Godat. "Teachers worked exceptionally hard this year trying to keep students motivated and engaged with our Learning @ Home model, but it is just not the same as being in the classroom — and for some students it is not the best way for them to learn."

She added that pre-and-post assessments that are used for summer school come right out of their curriculum.

"For reading, we use a word and fluency assessment," she said. "For math, we use our EngageNY pre-and post-tests for whatever unit we work on during summer school. It depends on the needs of the students."

Godat concluded that she is hoping that they have a full house of students this summer so that they can reach as many kiddos as possible.

"I can hardly wait for July 7 to get here," she expressed. "I have missed my daily interaction and one-on-one time with my students. Zoom meetings and phone calls are not the same as seeing a smiling face walk through your classroom door."

Looney noted that the original plan for summer school had a sunset of four years. This will mark the seventh year for the Kiwanis Summer School.

"I am really proud of this project," said Looney. "Quite frankly, I hope we do it forever."

Sidebar

Kiwanis Summer School

Dates: July 7 through August 20

Times: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Crooked River Elementary

1400 S.E. 2nd Street Prineville, OR 97754

541-447-6488 - Phone

Head Teacher: Natalie Godat

Openings: Third grade and kindergarten


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