With the school year winding down, many area students will be participating in a summer curriculum offered from June 11 through July 10 at various elementary schools in Rhinelander. We recently sat down with Martha Knudtson, principal of Pelican Elementary, to learn more about how students can benefit from these programs.
Star Journal: How many programs are being offered this summer?
Martha Knudtson: There are three different programs offered, based on the age of the students. We have summer school for children three years of age to 2nd grade at Crescent School, 3rd through 5th grades at Pelican and 6th through 8th at JWMS. We’ve also added a section from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at Crescent School for three-year-olds. The children must be three years of age by June 1 in order to be eligible for enrollment. We felt that this experience will help the children to develop social skills as well as basic practice of manners.
SJ: What types of subjects and areas of interest are explored?
MK: We provide a multitude of areas of interests for students. We offer remedial coursework like reading and math lessons to students who may have a more difficult time understanding the material, but we also offer special interest lessons based on science, music and arts and crafts. Each student selects four different classes during registration. Some of our most popular courses are Rockin’ Rocketry, which is a science-based class, and Stitch in Time, a sewing course that allows the students to learn basic stitching skills and put them to use in making pillows, bags and garments. Some of our newly added courses this summer include a musical exploration class and Wondrous Watercolors. The art courses are always favorites as they allow the students to express their creativity.
SJ: How many students are enrolled in this summer’s program?
MK: We have more than 500 students registered for the summer school program this year. Our enrollment has jumped drastically since we’ve included free transportation to and from school for students. We decided to include this in order to accommodate parents’ schedules. We also have over 50 teachers who will be instructing this year’s program and a sizeable amount of support staff to help with the program as well. Our program is open to all licensed teachers from the district and surrounding areas, and we often see teachers from other areas come back each summer to teach the program, so we’re very grateful that there’s such an interest in allowing this program to remain successful in Rhinelander.
SJ: What is the most noticeable outcome of the students who attend the summer school program?
MK: What we see most often is that students who participate in the full 20 days of summer school are more likely to carry the skills and learned work ethic with them throughout the summer. The success of the program and how successfully the student learns is directly linked to attendance. Our main purpose in offering summer school to students is to reduce summer reading loss and to help put books into children’s hands. Our school libraries are open at Crescent and Pelican, and we encourage all students to stop by and check out as many books as they’d like throughout the summer. We really want students to see this opportunity as a way to connect with their friends and be in a safe and relaxed environment while learning and having fun.