Summer school programs expanding

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— With summer school enrollment on the rise nationally, more students are choosing to spend some of their time off polishing up on their academic skills. Steamboat and Hayden schools seem to be following the national trend by offering a variety of remedial and enrichment classes.

"This is the first time we've offered it at all the schools," said Cyndy Simms, the superintendent of the Steamboat School District. "We did it to give all the students a chance."

This year, the elementary schools in Steamboat offer remedial and enrichment math classes along with remedial reading classes.

"The teachers report at the elementary level that when a child comes back in the fall they seem to be further ahead (after going to summer school)," Simms said.

At the high school and middle school level, summer classes only are offered to students who didn't pass their classes during the regular school year, Simms said.

Also new to the Steamboat Springs summer classes is that they're partially being funded by the half-cent city sales tax dedicated to schools.

"We still have an enrollment charge, but it would be a lot higher if we didn't have the one-half cent sales tax," Simms said.

Carolyn Gregory, a third-grade teacher and summer school director for Hayden, said that children and teachers both benefit from summer school.

"It's a benefit to me to see kids in summer school that I'm going to have in the fall," Gregory said. "We get a head start on the fall."

In Hayden, summer school is more focused on enriching a student's education, rather than being a period to make up grades. Summer classes are offered to kindergarten through fifth-grade students.

"We've been trying to get summer classes started after fifth grade, but that's out of my jurisdiction," Gregory said.

One class that is offered is reading and writing enrichment, along with two other classes for advanced children who need a teacher's recommendation to enroll. One of the classes covers math, while the other covers writing. In the writing class, the students produced their own newspaper.

"This was probably one of the more successful years we've had," Gregory said. "Enrollment was up this year."

Even with enrollment on the rise, five summer classes didn't go through because there weren't enough students signed up. The classes that students were interested in signing up for included learning to cook, Internet exploration, drawing, science and watercolor. A new class that was popular this year was a sign language course.

To reach Larissa Keever call 871-4208 or e-mail lkeever@amigo.net

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