Summer school starts

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Grades K-3 are getting ‘Wild About Reading,’ thanks to a four-week long summer school program provided by the West Liberty Elementary School.

With help from a $2,500 donation though West Liberty State Bank, Office of South Ottawa Savings Bank, students will receive the curriculum and incentives to up their reading skills.

The summer program specifically targets students that scored low in reading on their FAST state assessments. The program grew out of need to aid those students three years ago.

“It really has grown,” said Director and Teacher Richard Ortega of the four week program. “At first it was like tutoring, but now we have around 105 kids.”

The summer school uses the SRA Influence Program to help with fluency and lessons to help with comprehension and the ability to retain information.

It’s also used as a way to help bridge that summer gap that occurs between school years, a time when a lot of students stop learning and stop reading.

“It’s better than nothing, it keeps them reading with an exposure to school,” says Ortega. “A lot of these kids don’t read over the break.”

The program aids excitement by providing incentives. This year they’ll hold drawings twice-a-week for Chamber bucks, issued by the West Liberty Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a great program for the kids to come in and get engaged. It gives them a boost for next year because summer is two months, they lose some reading during that time,” says Ortega.

In its short three year life span the summer school program has learned a few lessons of its own. For instance, it was originally a six week program.

However, they battled a huge drop off of 20 students after July 4. Now the district has scaled it’s length down to one month in June.

Right now there are seven teachers as well as seven paras (helpers). The day begins at 8 a.m., like a normal school day, but ends around 11:45 in time for district lunch.

Donated money from West Liberty State Bank goes towards providing the right learning tools and curriculum, as well as funding the Chamber bucks.
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