School’s back for summer

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Area schools reopen for summer classes

Parents, students and teachers dealt with alternate learning methods throughout the wellness break, but now, school districts have laid out their plans for summer school.

Cassville

The Cassville school district will open its doors to students for the “Return of the Wildcats.”

Based on the district’s recent survey, 65 percent of the primary and intermediate families have requested a summer school learning opportunity.

Tracy Mitchell, Cassville co-director of learning, said sessions will begin May 27 and go to June 30, and a full day for students is 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“A large number of our teachers are available to teach during summer school,” she said. “Our goal will be to try to keep the students with their current teachers.”

The students will continue learning what they missed during the fourth quarter wellness break.

“Summer school is usually 18 days, but this summer, it will be offered for 25 days,” Mitchell said. “The in-person seated sessions will only be offered to students going into kindergarten to sixth-grade classes.”

The K-6 students will have the opportunity to visit the Cassville Aquatic Center, however this will be done on a rotating schedule, so each child will not visit the pool every week.

“Last year, we offered virtual course work to the eighth- to 12th-grade students and had double the participation in those students, so we are hoping to see that rollover again,” Mitchell said. “This year, the district included seventh grade in that.

Courses for students in grades 7-12 can be found at www.cassville.k12.mo.us.

Breakfast will be served to students from 7:40-8 a.m., and breakfast and lunch are free for all students who attend summer school.

“At the moment, we do not plan to continue the lunch deliveries when summer school starts – it will all be in house,” Mitchell said.

The district will continue working with the Barry County Health Department and run summer school as safely as possible.

“We will be strategic about cleaning schedules and make sure our students stay safe and healthy,” she said.

Other guidelines adopted by the district include:

• Striving to follow safe social distancing practices by class.

• When summer school begins, both students and staff will be served breakfast and lunch in their classrooms. As the state of Missouri transitions to Phase 2, the district will work to transition meal service to the cafeterias.

• The district will practice “wash-in/wash-out” with both students and staff. They will be asked to wash hands immediately upon arrival at school and again at the conclusion of the day. In addition to wash-in/wash-out, breaks will be provided during the day to both wash and sanitize hands.

• Transportation will be provided at a level that will provide for social distancing. People may review the summer school flyer for details or call 417-847-5525 for more information.

• Custodians will be cleaning and disinfecting between each transition period and at the conclusion of the day.

• If a staff member or student is sick, they must be fever free for three days before returning to school.

• For health and safety concerns, outside visitors and parents will be restricted. This includes visits during breakfast and lunch.

• Recess and physical education classes will be adjusted based on guidelines and recommendations of state and federal health authorities.

• Water fountains will be closed. The district will provide disposable bottles of water for all students. Students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles. 

• A nurse will be available on each campus.

• Students and staff members can choose to wear masks but they are not required. 

• Due to the unique circumstances, attendance incentives and awards will not be distributed.

Ultimately, district staff are just excited to see students again.

“Our teachers are beyond excited to have students in the building again and to be working with them,” Mitchell said. “We really just miss them, and we are all excited to see them again.”

Wheaton

The Wheaton school district will welcome students back for summer school on June 1, and sessions will continue until June 25.

Lance Massey, Wheaton superintendent, said summer school will last 19 days, which is typical for the district.

“On the 14th we had a technology drop-off, and students were able to pick up their belongings,” he said. “Based on the responses there, the district wants to make summer school an option.

“If parents feel safe and want their children to have summer school, we want to offer that option.”

One of the reasons the district decided to open for summer school was that typically, it isn’t as highly attended.

“This will allow us to teach those social distancing skills and practices on a much smaller scale,” Massey said. “We will continue to make calls as summer school plays out. If we get through half of it and see an increase of cases in our students, we will change, but as of now, we aren’t seeing a high number in Barry, Newton or McDonald counties.”

Summer school this year will be offered to all grade levels.

“High school students will have more of a credit recovery or additional credit curriculum, and there will be an online program for that,” he said. “We have offered that for a number of years and will continue that on campus like we have typically done.

“We feel like we, and the community, are ready to get back to normal.”

Exeter

Trying to stay on track with previous years, the Exeter school district has decided to begin summer school on May 26, and it will last until June 26.

Ernest Raney, Exeter superintendent, said the district usually does 20 days of summer school.

“Summer school will be offered to all grades, and the high school students will have a seated credit recovery course,” he said. “The credit recovery teacher will help facilitate that learning.”

Raney said the teachers intend to do a blended approach to summer school, including some of the things that were unable to be taught in the fourth quarter.

“But, it is important for them to have that summer school experience and have a break from the pencil to paper grind,” he said. “We want to continue to motivate our students to do their best and to work hard.”

Raney said it is important to create that balance for the students.

“Our teachers have expressed how much they miss their students, and the parents and students deserve the opportunity to capture that learning lost in the fourth quarter.”

Raney said summer school is an opportunity to meet those needs for everyone.

“It will also help prepare everyone for fall, where we will pick up where we left off,” he said.

The district will run regular bus routes during the first week to allow people who didn’t get a survey or other information to let the district know they would like their children to attend.

“After the first week, we will make adjustments and move forward,” Raney said. “The district will continue to comply with COVID-19 restrictions and provide a safe place to learn and meet the needs of the children.”

Southwest

The Southwest school district has decided that summer school will be open enrollment to all students for both remediation and acceleration.

Classes will begin on June 1 and end June 26, and if attendance numbers allow, a second session will run June 6 through June 31.

Classes will have 10 students per course, but there could be consolidated grade levels and courses.

The district will not run full bus routes, regardless of the number of students. However, free breakfast and lunches will be available for all students and will be served at the elementary school cafeteria.

Students will attend from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or 6.5 hours, and staff will attend from 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. or 7 hours daily.

Purdy

School will be back in session for summer school on June 1 and last until June 26.

Purdy Superintendent Mindi Gates said she has been in contact with the director of the Barry County Health Department about the possibility of summer school, to which he said as long as the district is cautious about class sizes and sanitation, he was supportive.

Along with what has been done in the past, the district will offer summer school to students going into kindergarten through sixth grades, and high school will be allowed credit recovery.

Food service will continue throughout summer school, and for students in class will have meals in their classrooms, but students not participating in summer school up to 18 years old will still be able to receive breakfast and lunch by pick-up.

Credit recovery for high school students will be offered in a seated class via online platform. The system guides students through the program, and officials said as long as students apply themselves, there is a high success rate.

Gates said the number of students that typically participate in summer school is about 125-150. Although there has not been an official survey at this time, kindergarten through sixth-grade interest is about 75 students. But, Gates believes hitting 125 is doable.

If there is an increase beyond what is expected, the district is able to add another teacher. As far as classroom sizes go, kindergarten, first and second grades are generally the highest in volume.

Typically, third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms are blended.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: