Summer school gets creative

The term “summer school” is enough to strike fear in the heart of any failing high school student. Characters in the musical Grease really summed it up:

“Coach, how could you flunk the T-Birds?”

“You’ll get your diplomas. Just come to summer school.”

“Summer school!” (Groan.)

But these days, summer school isn’t just for seniors missing credits or freshmen struggling with reading or math. South Kitsap School District (SKSD) is now offering intensive preparation for...kindergarten.

Kindergarten? Yes, plus a variety of classes for grades 1-6, including babysitting and home alone certification courses.

Calling All Kindergarteners! features four week-long classes designed to prepare incoming Kindergarteners for the experience.

Introduction to First Grade, Reader’s Corner, Math Lab, Writer’s Workshop and Pre-Algebra for Sixth Graders are also on the schedule.

In “Babysitting: From Beginner to Pro,” students are taught the fundamentals of babysitting infants, toddlers, older children and siblings. Course topics include basic care, accident prevention, problem solving, making simple meals and snacks, handling emergencies and simple first aid.

How to get a babysitting job is also covered, for those non-entrepreneurial children.

The “Home Alone: Safe and Sound” course covers many of the same topics. At the end of either class, students receive a certificate proving they have completed the course, which could come in handy getting those babysitting jobs.

There is also an enrichment class designed for Native American students.

Of course, classes designed to strengthen students in reading, writing and arithmetic before the start of their next school year are still popular, but Paul Abbott, this summer’s elementary summer school principal, said there is a definite shift in educators’ thinking.

“There is some of that,” Abbott said of students who attend summer school to catch up with their peers.

But according to Abbott, a teacher at Hidden Creek Elementary, a new district-wide system focusing on assessment has made it possible to better group students according to their ability levels rather than their traditional grade-level identification. Abbott said this better prepares students to get ahead rather than catch up.

And parents have noticed the difference.

“We’re a lot higher than last year,” Abbott said, in terms of enrollment numbers, “and last year we broke records, too.”

Abbott said that by the time the final numbers come in, close to 400 K-6 students will have participated in elementary summer school classes.

For more information or to inquire about open class space contact Robbie Bell at (360) 874-7058 or visit

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