Park City School District’s summer school expands to secondary grades
School might be out for the summer, but this year, more students are sticking around the classrooms.
The Park City School District recently launched a pilot summer school for secondary grades. The program began on June 18 and is scheduled to run until July 12, said Todd Klarich, community education director for the district. It is taking place at Treasure Mountain Junior High.
For several years, the district has held summer school for students entering third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Holy Cross Ministries partners with the district to put on the program.
Last year, Klarich said that former superintendent Ember Conley suggested that summer school be extended to students going into seventh and eighth grades.
“We wanted to provide a safe, healthy, enriching environment for the kids to be and try to bridge that summer loss,” he said.
After discussions with the Park City Board of Education to add $30,000 to the budget, Klarich finally got the go-ahead about one month ago to hire a coordinator, three teachers and three paraprofessionals. He hoped to get 60 students signed up for the program and ended up surpassing his goal with almost 70 students. Students entering sixth grade were bumped from the elementary program to the secondary one.
The program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each week day. Grades are divided into different classes with one teacher and one paraprofessional. Brian Kretschmar, coordinator of the secondary summer school, said that the program uses project-based learning to tie core subjects into one theme each week, such as patriotism or the outdoors.
The cost of the program is $100, but scholarships are available for those who qualify for free and reduced lunch, Kretschmar said. Breakfast and lunch are served to the students.
Kretschmar said that he also included lessons about resilience and responsibility in the program’s curriculum, which was recommended by leaders at Ecker Hill Middle School.
Emily Romero, who is entering eighth grade at Treasure Mountain this fall, is participating in summer school. Like some of the other students in the program, she signed up because she thought it would be a good way to spend the summer months.
“I didn’t want to really sit around do nothing all summer,” she said. “I thought it was a fun idea.”
She said that she enjoyed reading to first-grade students in the elementary summer school, and is excited for the various activities that they’ll get to participate in this summer.
Kretschmar and Klarich both hope that the program helps prepare students transitioning from Ecker Hill Middle School to Treasure Mountain Junior High, which Klarich said can be intimidating for students.
“We are really trying to bridge that gap and make them feel comfortable,” he said.
Klarich said that he hopes the program can continue to expand, but also maintain low teacher-to-student ratios of about 1:10 in order to foster healthy relationships between students and their instructors.
During the pilot year, Kretschmar plans to gather data in order to see how summer school affects the students’ performance once regular classes resume, as well as their perception of their skills and abilities.
If he sees students leaving the program with different ideas and skills, he would consider it a success. He said that during summer months, students lose a lot of the information and skills they gained during the school year. Already, he feels like the program is making a difference.
“They are in there reading, they’re writing, they’re being creative, they’re discussing, they’re working on lots of different skills instead of being at home,” Kretschmar said.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.