School districts trade traditional summer school for programs centered around fun

Mid-Missouri school districts said incorporating fun into summer schools has become a new priority in order to attract more students to the programs. (FILE)

While schools were preparing for the end of the traditional school year, the break will not be long.

Summer school for Jefferson City Public Schools and Columbia Public Schools was scheduled to begin May 29 and June 4 respectively.

Both districts have implemented programs centered around fun in hopes of attracting more students to enroll.

"We're trying something new where we're taking a thematic approach to summer school," Brian Shindorf, the chief of learning for Jefferson City Public Schools said. "For example, our kindergartners are going to come in and they're going to do Camp Kindergarten and they're going to explore all things camping. Our first graders are going to do Planet Safari and look at animals."

Columbia Public Schools said it works with a company to provide unique opportunities to children apart from the traditional school work done during the first half of the summer school day.

"We've done a lot with technology and computers. They added Minecraft this year, and drones, and Micro Bit so while we have the reading and writing in the morning we have a lot of fun things in the afternoon to add a little bit something extra for the summer," CPS Summer School Coordinator Bonnie Conley said.

Both districts said summer school is no longer just for students needing extra help before the start of a new school year.

"Rather than just have a remediation program for kids that might be falling behind or coming to summer school because they feel they need to catch up on reading or math we want to do a little bit of inspiring and a little bit of enrichment," Shindorf said. "We want to get those kids who want to come into the programs, but they want to explore really cool topics they're interested in."

"I think it's harder for kids to find things to do all three months of the summer and having a month with all these fun activities provided, I think is very beneficial for all students," Conley said.

For enrollment information for JCPS students, visit the district website.

CPS listed its summer school information on its website.

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