Ceres Unified School District is expanding summer school to all its students - not just those who are academically challenged as in past practice - thanks to a $1 million financing package from the state of California.
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.
Assistant Supt. Jay Simmonds said CUSD qualified for extra Local Control and Accountability (LCAP) funding due to the district free and reduced lunch counts and higher percentage of English learners.
"We have quite a bit of money that's coming in to serve our students and we are making sure that those students have access to summer school even if they are not having challenges with academics," said Simmonds.
Roberto Serrato, CUSD's coordinator of Educational Options, said hiring 150 teachers to pull off the program started in January and has been an involved process. Cal State University, Stanislaus has assisted in recruitment.
Already over 4,000 students are signed up for summer school. Students are encouraged to show up on Monday, the first day of the program, to sign up if they haven't done so. After that it's too late, said Serrato.
Elementary Summer School runs 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 9 through July 3. The program is available for all students in first through fifth grades transitioning into the next grade. Some kindergartners transitioning into first grade may participate through teacher referral. Four periods will be offered with 90 minutes spent on science exploration, changing teachers for the next 90 minutes for English Language Arts and math instruction, and 45-minute third and fourth periods for enrichment activities. A literature component is tied to all enrichment activities, which include drama, art, color guard, reading yoga exercises, competitive Frisbee, sports basics such as soccer 101, and ag classes.
Serrato said the second period instruction of English language arts and math will be under the Common Core Standards Plus program. Ceres will be the first district statewide to use it.
"It was specifically hurried up just for Ceres Unified," said Serrato. "They weren't planning on publishing it until October but they rushed it for us and we'll be the first ones in California to use it.
Core instruction will be based on need in the area of English Language arts and Math or Science or Social Studies. The program is offered at all elementary school sites and as well as the Whitmore Charter School of the Arts and Technology.
Those students can roll right into the After School Education & Safety (ASES) program that also runs June 9 to July 3. ASES operates 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and includes fun activities, water games and snacks.
CUSD is also offering an "Early Back Elementary Summer School" that runs July 21 to Aug. 1, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.
Kinder Camp runs a morning session from July 21 to Aug. 1 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.
Junior High Summer School runs June 9 to July 3 as well, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at all three Ceres junior high schools. The program includes core instruction and elective classes and a transition course for incoming seventh-graders.
High School Summer School will be hosted at Central Valley High School in two sessions: June 9 to June 24 and June 25 to July 11. Meeting times are 7:30 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. The program allows credit recovery for students needing to earn credits toward graduation. Elective classes are offered as well as a transition course for incoming freshmen.
Summer School runs from June 9 to July 11 at Argus High School, from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Students behind on credits toward graduation can make them up.
In tandem with summer school is a summer meal program provided by CUSD Child Nutrition Services. Meals are offered to all children aged 1 to 18. Breakfast is served at all elementary sites June 9 to July 3 and July 21 to Aug. 1, from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and lunch is served 11:45 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.
Junior high sites are serving breakfast June 9 to July 3 from 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.; and lunch from 11:39 a.m. to 12:09 p.m.
From June 9 to July 11, Central Valley High School is serving free brunch to students from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.