Roseville school district offering safe and engaging summer classes

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 12, 2021

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ROSEVILLE — Districts such as Roseville Community Schools are working hard to ensure that students still have access to the variety of summer learning programs they always do, despite COVID-19 still being a concern to many.

Programs for elementary school are split into two groups: those organized by Roseville Community Schools and those organized by the Macomb Intermediate School District.

“At the elementary level, we run two tracks. We run a K-5 extended program with about 400 kids in it, and we focus on math and reading,” said Assistant Superintendent David Rice. “We make sure we are having fun with the kids but making sure there’s still a focus on academics. We track our kids on our assessments each year, and we see that this helps halt summer slide. Certified teachers are teaching at their regular grade levels. We provide latchkey services before and after just like during the regular school year; there is free breakfast and free lunch. We don’t grade them, but we do give feedback. … We are, for the first time this year, also offering a focus on special education students at the elementary level. We have at least two classes for these kids. They already go a half-day during the school year, so this also will be only a half-day program.”

The county programs also will include a math camp for middle school students.

“The other group of offerings we have come from the Macomb Intermediate School District,” continued Rice. “We run three of them, one is KinderConnect, which prepares students for coming into kindergarten. The other is for outgoing kindergarteners. We run three classes of each. The third is a math camp for sixth and seventh graders. It’s for kids identified with not having a proficient score on the state tests. Unlike the elementary programs, which are open to everyone, this one requires an invite from the district based on those test scores. They are all four-week programs.”

Donovan Stec, the principal of Kment Elementary, will be running the programs out of Steenland Elementary School. He said offering additional in-person learning opportunities is crucial in a year when some students never returned to in-person learning during the school year.

“This will be the sixth year we have done a summer program,” said Stec. “We do our testing to see how our students are performing, and it has been pretty chaotic this year. We have been lucky to have been able to be completely virtual when we needed to be. We had 28% of students who were still learning virtually and never came back in person this year. Having a way to give them a chance to catch up and return to a classroom environment is a great opportunity. I think it will greatly benefit them.”

High school students will have credit recovery classes available in the summer.

“We also offer credit recovery for grades six through 12,” said Rice. “We don’t have a pure summer school, but they have an option for joining a six-week class that can make up credit for a class they may have missed or failed. This is a virtual program, but it is run out of our district buildings. This also has the free breakfast and lunch programs.”

Safety measures will be in place in all of the summer learning programs to ensure the risk of anyone getting sick is minimal.

“Kids will be wearing masks, and so will teachers,” Rice said. We try to space them out more than 6 feet. We think that this will provide better means of stopping summer learning loss than virtual learning programs.”

“We’ve gotten very careful in conjunction with the Michigan Health Department,” added Stec. “It will be 100% face-to-face, but students will be kept socially distanced and masked. Teachers will take mask walks where students can take a walk without the masks while being separated. Additionally, we’ll offer more lunchroom supervision and more lunch groups so we have less students in the room at one time. Classes are kept in their own bubbles so one class couldn’t infect another. Beyond that, we won’t have anyone going from classroom to classroom, and they are kept spaced on the buses.”

Stec said the elementary programs will make an effort to make the summer classes fun, even if safety protocols make that more difficult.

“It is still summer, and we still try to make it fun,” he said. “We usually have field trips in our summer programs, but instead, we may have people coming into the buildings instead of crowding students onto buses and taking them somewhere else. This way we can have fun activities and still make sure all safety measures are in place and no one is exposed to anyone they don’t have to be.”

The programs will last between four and six weeks.

“We start them all on July 6. Almost all of them run until Aug. 5, but the three (intermediate school district) camps run until July 29,” said Rice. “The K-5 programs are at Steenland, as well as the special education classes. The elementary ISD programs are at Huron Park. The math camp is at Roseville High School, as are the credit recovery programs.”

Those interested in the programs can sign up on the district’s website, www.rosevillepride.com.

“We have a badge on our webpage, and we email families and offer the information through Schoology. Registration is open until June 1,” Rice said. “They fill out the form online and notify us if there are special needs or if they need transportation assistance. There is no cost for any of these. Normally, we have to charge for credit recovery programs, but because of the special situations this year, we are using grant money for any students who want to use the credit recovery program.”

Rice remarked that these summer classes may be more important than ever for students after such an unconventional school year.

“These might be more essential than ever for many families because of the COVID learning plans and everything we’ve had to do,” he said. “Learning loss is a real thing for kids out there, and they were maybe not as able to focus or get involved in their lessons this year, so we encourage people to look into these options to see if they might be something they’re interested in.”

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