Non-stop learners

Summer school offers intense learning program

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Summer and school are two words that just don’t seem to belong together. The longer days, warmer temperatures and endless sunshine may indeed say summer, but many local students are right back in the classroom spending their mornings in summer school and their afternoons completing homework. Both Del Oro High School and the Loomis Union School District have summer classes. This year the elementary summer school is being held at Loomis Grammar School and includes 260 students from the Loomis district, Ophir Elementary School and Newcastle Elementary. Del Oro offers seven different courses to its 180 summer students. They spend Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. attending one of those classes. According to Jacob Hardey, Del Oro summer school principal, the State of California no longer funds summer school unless it is for remediation or at-risk students. If there is room in a class, Del Oro does allow students to attend the summer session for enrichment purposes, but the school receives no money from the state for those students. Placer Elementary School sixth-grade teacher Robyn Nugen is acting as summer school principal for the Loomis District. Placer School clerk Nadine Bergstrom and 16 teachers, plus two aides support her. This is Nugen’s fifth year as summer school principal, taking over for Doug Shupe, Franklin Elementary School teacher, after he left last week to take a permanent job with another district. Nugen explained that the elementary summer school offers a remedial program specializing in helping at-risk students or students who fell behind. She said that students must be recommended by their teachers and must test to be eligible. Paul Johnson, Loomis district superintendent, described their summer school program as “a more relaxed atmosphere where students can receive lessons and intervention that reinforce the standards they learned during the school year.” He also said that the smaller class size allows “lots of interaction between teachers and students.” According to Nugen, summer school students “have some holes they need to fill in. They get help with study skills, organizational skills. They get tools they can use during the school year.” Nugen stated that the summer school session “makes a significant difference in many kids’ lives.” She also raved about the quality of teachers at summer school. “We have the top district teachers in this program who have volunteered to work. All are very experienced,” she said. Kindergarten teacher Angela Smith, who normally teaches at Franklin School, said her students in the summer kindergarten class do “intensive language arts and math, broken up by creative choice time.” She said during choice time students get to “work” with Legos, pattern blocks, connecting cubes and blocks when they create shapes, patterns and objects. Besides remedial summer school, the district also offers a music enrichment program open to all students, in which they can take two-week sessions of beginning to advanced band. Back at Del Oro, Principal Hardey prepares to turn the summer reins over to Geoff Broyles, with whom he splits the summer session. During the school year, Broyles coaches the Del Oro varsity basketball team and also teaches physical education and social studies classes. Hardey coaches the track team and teaches science during the regular school year. This is the third year the pair has shared the job. Hardey said the two men have a similar philosophy regarding summer school. He said they don’t “put up with much” from the students and discipline problems are not tolerated. The school also only allows students to miss two classes before they lose course credit. He said they have an attrition rate of five percent to 10 percent during the first few weeks then most students end up completing their courses. Hardey said Del Oro also offers a high school readiness class for incoming freshmen. It’s taught by Bridget Farren, regularly a physical education and health teacher. He said the class gives students additional skills for being successful in high school. The elementary summer school ended July 11 while Del Oro is still in session until July 24. Most of the summer school students will have to squeeze in lots of summer enjoyment during the remaining weeks before the school year starts again.