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Over 4,500 students partake in Ceres' summer school program
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School's out and the kids are out of the classroom, right?
Well, 4,500 students have not taken a break from school and are participating in the Ceres Unified School District's summer school, offering them enrichment opportunities as well as credit recovery.

Why so many kids in the program? According to Roberto Serrato, CUSD's coordinator of Educational Options, CUSD invited all students to participate in summer school, not just those who are academically challenged.

"Because of the four-period model, students were really excited about going and teachers were really excited about teaching it," said Serrato.

He said the positive PR from last year's event helped drive up numbers this summer.

The news is welcome to many working parents who may have struggled to find ways to keep the kids busy during summer, and perhaps reason to groan for students preferring to relax.

In the first period, or 90-minute home room, students receive instruction in science or social studies. The 90-minute second period class is called the "What I need" group where students are divided by proficiency levels and instructed in those areas. The third and fourth periods allow students to choose a fun elective that has a writing component.

To pull off the task, CUSD hired 200 teachers - and 300 classified staff - for the elementary student program. Most of them teach an elective based on their expertise or interest. Some electives include volleyball, basketball, soccer, art, rocket building and yoga.

‘To hire as many teachers as we did, we started back in November," said Serrato, who noted that Cal State University, Stanislaus assisted in recruitment.

Elementary summer school started June 8 and ends July 2. The program is taking place at all the campuses except at Ceres High School since Central Valley High has been chosen as the site for high schoolers; and Carroll Fowler Elementary, because of construction activities
Students are offered breakfast and lunch for free at the program. They were also expected to regularly attend and asked not to come back if they missed a certain number of days.

Special education, migrant education and After School Education & Safety (ASES) programs are being offered during the summer as well. ASES operates 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and includes fun activities, water games and snacks.

"We're pretty much running a lot of what the regular school year offers," said Serrato.

Kinder Camp runs a morning session for incoming kindergarten students. The morning session, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, introduces basic classroom concepts as well as school rules, classroom behavior expectations and a time to socialize.

CUSD is also running Modesto Junior College classes at Hanline Elementary School site near Central Valley High School. High school students may attend the classes, which include art appreciation, and receive college credits.