December 26, 2002

SCR-I Summer School To Have A New Look In 2003

The Scotland County R-I School Board is considering entering a new era for the district's summer school program. The board voted 7-0 to prepare a contract agreement to bring the Edison Extra summer school program to Memphis in 2003.

Superintendent LeRoy Huff had introduced the board to the Edison Corporation at the November meeting and scheduled a visit from a representative of the company at the December board meeting.

Last summer 51 Missouri school districts and more than 35,000 students took the plunge into Summer Adventure, the new school design and curriculum offered by Edison Extra, an affiliate of Edison Schools.

The typical Edison Extra seven-hour day includes four CORE courses offered in the morning and three elective courses in the afternoon. The Summer Adventure CORE courses are chosen by each individual district and organized to address specific skills. The elective courses are offered in two-week sessions. Students participate in three electives for two weeks, then they rotate to three new electives the last two weeks.

Huff told the board that many of the schools in northeast Missouri will be working with the organization next year.

"Edison summer schools are in their third year of existence in Missouri and have grown steadily each year as they strive to provide a world-class program for the districts with which they work," Huff said.

Administrators that have worked with the program praised the design as advantageous for children as well as a novel approach to professional development.

"It's like a 24-day hands-on inservice," said Mike, a Summer Adventure principal. "With the professional development days and all the materials, the teachers are already planning how to use the new ideas in the fall."

The curriculum and materials for each course are supplied to each teacher. Sometimes the enormity can be overwhelming.

"When I saw all the materials, I just cried," said Kimm, another Summer Adventure principal. "As I opened box after box, it felt like Christmas. The children and the teachers are going to love this summer."

And teachers did discover the Edison Extra advantage.

"I have seen children who never raise their hand [in class] participating in all the activities," said Valerie, who taught elective courses Rockets and Go Karts and CORE courses Force and Motion and Reading. "In fact, all kids have done everything I have asked even though there were no grades. Special Education students have been equal to their peers."

And, according to students, the curriculum as well as the design is a big hit.

"It is hard to pick just one favorite thing about my 2002 Summer Adventure," said Katie Jo, a fourth grader. "My favorite things are the art projects like making puppets, origami, painting, and drawing. I like working with computers… It makes reading fun, almost like I'm not at school."

And that's not just when students are talking about the elective curriculum offered in the afternoon. Students also like the full-day schedule as well as the CORE classes offered in the morning.

"I really like that everything is free and [lasts] a full day… I also like all of the activities in our classes," said Katie, another fourth grader. "I liked reading the best because we did the most activities and got to read about owls. We even got to dissect an owl pellet! I also liked social studies because we got to learn about our history and play lots of games. Math is my favorite subject… It is really hard to pick a favorite because I love all of them."

But students were not only concerned with this year's experience. Some Missouri students are already looking to next year's Summer Adventure.

"I want Edison Summer Adventure to stay around for a long time because it gives kids a chance to have fun and learn during the summer," said Tracey.

"The Edison program is so cool," said Shauna. "I hope it's here again next year."

"I am going into eighth grade, and I hope I get to go to Edison Summer Adventure next year," said Nancy. "It was so much fun; I wish it lasted longer. . .I can't wait to come back next summer."

Not only students experience the Summer Adventure; parents also appreciated the Edison Extra difference.

"Rowan [a first grade student] is having such a good time that she does not even realize that she is learning," said Angelynn, Rowan's mother. "If only you could see her face when she gets up in the morning and gets ready for school; she is so excited about going. . .Thank you so much for allowing her the opportunity to learn, share, play, and grow with your program."

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