Re-1 OKs pilot summer school project
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A pilot summer school program approved by the Roaring Fork Re-1 school board Wednesday is intended to bring middle school-bound students who are not quite at grade level in their core subjects up to speed.
The goal is to increase student achievement for that targeted group outside of the regular school year, Carbondale Middle School Principal Rick Holt said.
By giving the students extra time and attention during the off months, the hope is they will be closer to performing at grade level when the new school year starts, Holt said.
“We should be striving to get as many kids as possible to be proficient or advanced,” he said. “It just takes some students longer to learn, and that’s acceptable.”
Holt explained the proposal to the school board along with Glenwood Springs Middle School Principal Sandy DeCrow and Basalt Middle School Principal Jeremy Voss.
The program will be offered for four weeks in late July and early August for up to 210 incoming middle school-aged students from Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt. Classes will take place at Carbondale Middle School, and will be taught by teachers from all three schools.
In addition to reading and math intervention, classes will focus on science, 21st century skills development and off-campus experiential projects.
The school board voted 3-2 to allocate $150,000 in seed money for the pilot program this summer. The money will come from one-time funds made available this school year with voter approval of a $4.8 million mill levy override last fall.
The district’s initial support is intended to leverage a pledge from an unnamed major donor who has agreed to fund the program in future years if the pilot project is successful.
Additional grants may also be possible, and the program could expand to include extended-day programs during the regular school year.
School board members Daniel Biggs and Richard Stettner said they supported the concept, but voted against the grant at Wednesday’s meeting. Both board members said they wanted to see more information about the project in writing, as well as a letter of intent from the donor, before agreeing to the money.
“It sounds like a great project, don’t get me wrong,” Biggs said. “It just feels rushed, and I’m not comfortable approving this without some more information.”
The seed money will cover training for the teachers, as well as transportation and meals for the participating students. The program is to be offered at no cost to the students’ families.
“We want this to be as accessible to as many students as possible,” Holt said.
The program targets students who will be entering middle school, but are still performing below grade level in reading and math.
Principals and teachers will work to identify and recruit students who could benefit from the program. As with the regular school year, students will be expected to attend regularly, Holt said.
“One of the things we’ve been talking about is character development, and what it means to be good students,” DeCrow said.
Roaring Fork Re-1 schools had some limited summer school offerings up until the latest round of budget cuts before this year.
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