The Prineville service club has partnered with the Crook County School District

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Classroom certified aid Channing Loveday, left, helps student Tatum Holliday with a lesson on a Chromebook during Kiwanis Summer School last July. The service organization has offered to support a fifth year of summer school.

During a recent Crook County School Board meeting, Kiwanis Club of Prineville member Wayne Looney asked the board members if the club could offer Kiwanis Summer School a fifth year in 2018.

It's now up to the school board to make the decision.

"Prineville Kiwanis' original plan called for our summer school involvement to largely end with the summer of 2017, our fourth year," Looney said. "Because Crook County School District generously volunteered to pay the associated portion of Prineville Kiwanis staffing costs (beginning in 2015), and because of strong community support, our board voted to authorize a fifth year."

Kiwanis would like to continue with the summer school program next summer if they are able to secure a small amount of additional funding and the school district is willing to continue with their commitment toward the program.

The price tag for summer school employees is roughly $20,000 annually. The local service organization spends around $12,000 to $13,000, and the school district pays for the meals, busing and associated employee costs such as retirement and insurance benefits.

Summer school is designed to target kindergarten through third-grade students who are just below benchmark in reading and math.

According to CCSD Director of Curriculum and Instruction Stacy Smith, the local results and research both indicate that this supplemental instruction provided to this targeted audience can be just what they need to get to, or above, benchmark.

"We have also noticed that the Kiwanis Summer School program has been very effective at preventing what teachers call the 'summer slide,' or the actual loss of skill or conceptual knowledge during an extended break in instruction," Smith added.

The program has remained the same with only minor adjustments since its beginning in 2014. For seven weeks this past summer, students had a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday schedule with busing, breakfast and lunch provided by the school district. Again, the $50 registration fee was totally refundable upon 90 percent attendance.

There are four classrooms, one for each grade level, that can accommodate as many as 20 students. Each classroom has a teacher, a certified aid and a student aid.

Looney said it was disappointing that only 66 students participated last summer when they had room for and had recruited 80 students.

However, test scores indicated that 90 percent of those students improved their math and reading scores, 8 percent stayed the same, and 2 percent showed losses as a result of poor attendance.

"About 70 percent of our students are free and reduced lunch students," Looney pointed out. "Typically, they don't have a lot of resources in their family or in their household and perhaps not very much incentive to be academic during the summer, so those students really do slide back badly in the summer, and to hold them to a zero is good."

Smith said he has appreciated working with Looney as the Kiwanis representative.

"He is a retired, long-time educator, and he still has a heart for kids," Smith said. "Wayne was the person that helped guide other Kiwanians toward the school district as they sought ways to leverage dollars and community service in our community."

Looney said the summer school has been a great program for their club.

"We feel very proud about the accomplishments," he said. "It may be something that we want to just keep doing forever because we see value in it. I think the community sees value in it. Not only does it make us feel better, but we know we're actually doing something that's positive."

The school district has not officially voted to continue the partnership with Kiwanis, but Smith says it has been a great partnership.

"With their help, Crook County School District has been able to serve a vulnerable population of our community's students in a way that will benefit them educationally for years to come," he said. "We owe the Kiwanis folks a big thank you."

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