Summer school program an overwhelming success

ALTON, MO (KAIT) - In spite of cutbacks in school funding, the Alton, MO Summer School Program is booming.

Principal Shane Benson says one of the major advantages of summer school is for the pre-kindergarten students. Pre-K students are able to get used to school and the curriculum before school begins in the fall.

Fifth grader Brooke Haas says she likes summer school because the classes are different, and she has time to be with her friends.

Over 200 students, in both elementary and high school, are attending this year's summer session. Why?

Benson, "Each grade has a class this year. We have kindergarten through 7th grade that we have enough students to have that. Our attendance went up. Normally we have around 90 students in elementary and this year we are up to around 140."

Mr. Benson said one of the reasons we have so many kids in attendance this year is incentives. I mean after all who wouldn't want to go to school if you got to swimming for recess. There are also rewards for grades, and an opportunity for tickets to Branson for the best attendance.

Benson, "The attendance incentives were fun for the kids. It's only 5 days , if they come all 5 days they have a chance to win a bicycle."

Smaller classes with opportunities for more hands on learning as well. There were some concerns about funding at the beginning of the year that would not allow field trips. Benson said they did get funded but every year he says summer school can be "iffy".

There are classes going on at the high school as well. Some are credit catch up,others like Drivers Ed are offered only in the summer and when there are enough students. 10th grader Haileigh Hufstedler is enjoying the summer education opportunity to drive the car around the baseball field and practice her emergency stops.

Hufstedler, "Well I figure it will give me more experience on the road. Help people, making sure I'm not hurting anybody."

All students can benefit from additional learning but school librarian Melinda Langston says one group might benefit a little more than others.

Langston, "Our pre-school kids who do get to come who do get a little feel for what school is going to be like."

Benson, "Going through the lunch line, how to come in and out from recess. Many of these kids have never even gone to a public bathroom by themselves. They will be in much better shape when school starts in the fall."

Benson says he likes summer school, he as to be there any way so why not have kids here too.

Benson, "You know the teachers get paid a little extra for summer school so it's a good way to make a little extra money plus it's giving out students a head start for next year."

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