In-person summer school drives enrollment


SUMMER SCHOOL AT Northern Ozaukee School District is occurring in person this year after only offering virtual courses last year and students are pleased the program is back to usual operations. Above, students played board games as part of a recreational course. Right, two students worked on a project in the elementary school. Photos by Sam Arendt
By 
CONNOR CARYNSKI
Ozaukee Press Staff

Summer school at Northern Ozaukee School District is holding in-person courses this year after only providing virtual offerings last year, causing an increase in enrollment and offering more activities for students.

 Last year when courses were offered remotely, enrollment dropped from 465 in 2019 to just 75 students.

The drop was a bump in the road for the program which had been steadily increasing enrollment in years leading up to the virtual switch.

In 2019, enrollment had increased 10% from 2018, which was 26% higher than in 2017.

Enrollment for this year more than doubled from 2020, with 188 students taking courses, but still lagged behind pre-pandemic numbers.

Summer school Principal Lynn Kucharski said she anticipated a slow return to normal numbers following virtual courses last year.

“I was very pleased with our enrollment. I knew it wasn’t going to quite be what it was in the past prior to being virtual last year but it’s far better than when we were virtual and it’s getting closer to what it was prior to that,” she said.

She added that as overall conditions improve with the coronavirus pandemic in the area, she expects summer school enrollment in years ahead to increase.

Summer courses are available to students heading into 5K through students heading into eighth grade.

Credit recovery courses were not offered but courses to help students hone math, science and English skills were.

Students going into 5K, first grade and second grade are enrolled in single courses with block sessions from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Students focus on age-appropriate reading, writing and math lessons for part of the day and recreational outdoor activities for the remainder of the period.

Students going into third grade and above  had more selections. They were able to select from a series of science, technology, engineering, arts and math and recreational courses, each lasting for one hour of the day.

Students could enroll in a mix of  recreational and STEAM courses or select only recreational courses like fiber arts, mixed sports, yoga and mindfulness, greenhouse gardening and strategy and board games.

“We want it to be a good balance between the math or reading support and classes of interest that they choose,” Kucharski said.

While recreational courses are not as focused on educational outcomes as STEAM courses, Kucharski said students still do glean valuable information from them.

For example, she said the district’s yoga course can teach students how to be mindful and manage stress in a productive way, and that the board games can teach students how to be good sports.

Enrollment was not limited to those in NOSD.

Kucharski said the district also receives students from private schools like Divine Savior Catholic School and The Riveredge Outdoor Learning Elementary School, or students who were home schooled last year.

She said some students both in and out of the district learned remotely last school year and that they are pleased to be back in person for summer school socializing and participating in activities.

She added that parents are also pleased the district was able to offer in person activities this year.

“They’re happy we’re back to summer school in person and providing something for the kids to do, both learning and having fun,” she said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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