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Summer school possible for USD 382 students

Kahrie Stegman
USD 382 Board of Education members met online earlier this month to formulate education plans for summer school and discuss the budgetary impact of COVID-19.

The Pratt Board of Education met remotely over Zoom on Monday, May 11 to talk about summer school options for students in grades K-4, plans for the reintegration of the school in August and budget concerns due to the economy for 2020-21.

Kirsten Blankenship, Assistant Principal at Southwest Elementary School, reported that a survey was sent out to all kindergarten through fourth grade parents with various questions concerning summer school. One question that the staff found particularly surprising was that 70% reported that they would still have their kids attend summer school, even if it had to be online.

“We believe that with this pandemic, all of our students have been affected,” Blankenship said. “Summer school can be offered to students that struggle in school or they are performing at the bottom 25%, but we wanted to give all students that opportunity to get a jump start into that next grade, but also to be able to have our summer school teachers work on skills that are either review but also some that maybe just were not hit on as strongly as they ordinarily would have been with our distance learning.”

Summer school will be held on an all-digital platform this year from July 6-17, and will give parents an opportunity to use Google Classroom before the 2020-21 school year, since it may be needed.

For families who do not have devices to use for summer school, device checkout will be available the week before summer school.

Summer school may be replaced by before or after school intervention sessions at the 5th and 6th grade levels, according to Liberty Middle School Principal Ryan Creadick. The middle-school administration will wait to make final plans until they have more feedback from parents about this possible change.

Though nothing is certain yet, all USD 382 schools are looking at how the opening of schools will look in the fall. Southwest Elementary and Liberty Middle Schools both plan on using Google Classroom more consistently in the fall in case of another distance learning situation.

The high school will continue to use Canvas as the main platform for assigning online assignments, even if they are face-to-face.

The budget for next school year looks good now, according to Superintendent Tony Helfrich, but it could change as situations continue to change throughout the next school year.

“The budget is in good shape and looks good on paper,” Helfrich said. “But, with the economic slowdown there could be budget cuts forced by the state in the middle of the year.”

The full video of the meeting can be found on YouTube. The video is called “USD 382 Board Meeting” on the “Covid19 Info” channel.