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By Rick Monroe
Special to Village News 

'Space' is theme and issue for elementary summer school


Last updated 5/26/2021 at 1:34pm

Check your email and your elementary school student’s backpack to see if there’s an “invitation” to attend summer school.

Dr. Lea Curcio, Director of Curriculum & Instruction for the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, said the district has needed to be selective this year about who will be able to attend summer school on July 12-30. The invites were given out May 18-21.

“They will be both emailed and backpacked home with the student from the classroom teacher,” Curcio said.

She explained that there are a limited number of teachers and space at the three elementary schools, and Potter Jr. High School. The elementary schools hosting summer school are Maie Ellis, La Paloma, and Fallbrook STEM Academy.

The theme is space this year, which includes NASA, astronauts, outer space, science experiments, and activities.

“It’s been rough for kids the past year with COVID 19 restrictions,” Curcio noted. “Our priority is to help the ones with the greatest need. We just can’t serve everyone this summer. It’s based on need, from teacher recommendations, for those needing work with math and language arts.”

Those invited have the first option to attend, but others will be put on a waiting list.

‘It’s OK for parents to advocate for their kids,” Curcio said. “That’s natural. We know that not everyone invited will attend, so one way or another, we will fill all the seats. We see the summer school program as a jump-start for next year, with fun, interaction, and outside activities.

The three-week program will have elementary schools in class from 8 a.m. to noon, and Potter Jr. High School from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The summer program will be taught by 17 credentialed classroom teachers, Curcio said, noting that not all teachers are able to participate. “Teachers still need their time off and to reset for the next school year, too.”

Superintendent Candace Singh commented at the May 17 board meeting that she was excited the “best” teachers in the district were willing to teach summer school.

Curcio said one of the purposes of summer school is to also make it easier for students to connect in the fall.

This works especially well for current sixth graders who will move to Potter Jr. High School for the next school year. When they attend summer school at Potter, the principal of the program is Adrienne Ashford, current assistant principal at Potter.

“It’s a nice way to build a bridge to their next level of education,” Curcio said.

Not only that, but most of the summer teachers at the middle school will be teachers they will likely have in the fall.

That example is more difficult at the elementary program because the teaching staff may come from other schools in the district besides the three summer campuses.

Ana Arias is the Elementary Summer Program Principal. She is assistant principal at William Frazier now, but she and her staff will attempt to align students with their fall teacher wherever possible.

“Our goal is to have students ready for their next grade level,” Curcio said. “We’re trying to create the best experience for students who need it the most.

For students not selected for summer school, the administrator admitted she expects some parents to be upset.

“I ask the community to understand that the priority is need,” she reiterated.

She also mentioned there are other opportunities in the community, such as the Boys and Girls Club summer program.

In addition to addressing the educational needs of students, Curcio said the district will continue its policy of having a full-time counselor at each campus during summer school and in the fall. Prior to this year, counselors were part-time at each school.

The district also has separate summer programs for special needs students and for students in the migrant education program.

Curcio presented information to the board at its April 19 meeting, including the summer school’s Accelerating Learning element:

● Learning is social, emotional, and academic.

● Children actively construct knowledge-creating connections is critical.

● Learning is enhanced by physical activity, joy and opportunities for self-expression.

● Positive relationships and experiences are essential.


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