Archive for Thursday, June 1, 2006

Summer school provides learning opportunities

June 1, 2006

Although school may be out for the summer, that doesn't mean students will stop learning.

De Soto USD 232 has several opportunities for learning, including a Summer Academy and reading rewards programs.

District learning services coordinator Kim Barney said the district decided to make a few changes in this year's summer program.

In the past, it has offered enrichment programs to any student. This year, the program will focus on remedial students needing help in math and reading. Barney said although the district would save money by not offering summer camps, the reason for switching to a summer school format was more.

"We just decided to try a new approach," Barney said. "There are other agencies in the community that offer camps. Our main purpose is to help kids achieve high levels of learning."

De Soto will offer two programs at the elementary level -- at Starside and Riverview elementary schools. Students at the middle and high school levels will attend De Soto High School or Mill Valley's programs.

Barney said there are about 250 students enrolled in summer programs, which could increase as grade cards are sent out this week.

The summer academy will be from June 5 to June 29. Students attend hours based on their performance. Tuition is $125 for 90 minutes for all four weeks or $200 for three hours of instruction for all four weeks for elementary and middle school students. Tuition is $200 per semester credit for high school students.

Barney said students could get an advantage through summer classes with the school district. All the teachers are certified, many full-time employees of the district, and a few are even highly qualified to work with students speaking English as a second language. She said at the elementary level, ESL teachers would work in regular classrooms to ensure student understanding.

At the high school level, students can make up for failed classes through credit recovery.

Board members expressed concern about the system at their May meeting and Bill Waye said he thought students shouldn't be able to recover a credit if they aren't able to demonstrate the skills.

He suggested students recover a math credit instead of more advanced subjects like algebra or geometry. De Soto High School students must earn four credits -- or four years -- of math in order to graduate.

Barney said for now, students will be able to recover an algebra or geometry credit.

"They'll get the algebra credit if they meet proficiency, if they demonstrate the mastery of algebra," she said.

Reading rewards programs are also available at Starside and Mize elementary schools. Throughout the summer, students will earn rewards for reading a certain number of minutes or having an adult read to them. The programs are separate from the Johnson County Library's reading programs.

Starside students will have calendars to mark off their minutes read, with a goal of 15 minutes each day.

In August, Starside students could earn a bookmark and free book, a nacho party and a T-shirt based on the number of days they have fulfilled the 15 minutes of reading.

At Mize, teachers will be at the school from 7 to 10 a.m. June 7, June 24, July 7, July 24 and Aug. 7 to provide a reading time for students and parents.

Students will get pool parties based on the number of minutes filled out in their summer reading logs.

For more information on summer activities, visit the De Soto school district's Web site at, the De Soto Parks and Recreation at, the Johnson County Parks and Recreation at or the De Soto Branch of the Johnson County Library at

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