Gainesville district enjoys impressive enrollment increase in summer school

Times photo / Norene Prososki A driver’s education class is being offered in Gainesville’s summer school program for the first time in several years. Participating students include, from right, Holley Stevens, Zach Botts, Andrew Botts and Wesley Stevens. District superintendent Jeff Hyatt, left, teaches the course. Hyatt told the Times he has been a driver’s ed driving instructor for 28 years. When the Times asked if he’d had any scary experiences in his nearly three decades of riding with student drivers, he quipped, “Nerves of steel!”

Summer school classes have begun around the county, and the Gainesville R-V District is especially proud of its increased attendance figures this year. In 2017, Gainesville High School’s summer school had an enrollment of 25 students. This summer, 72 students are enrolled in the high school program.
For the younger grades, average attendance last year was 98.75 students. This year’s first-week attendance averaged 132.75 students, and this summer’s highest attendance so far totaled 137 on Thursday, May 24.
Gainesville’s summer school, which began May 21 and continues through June 14, is open to all students, including those living outside the Gainesville district, who can attend free of tuition charges. Free breakfast and lunch are served, and bus transportation is offered.
The kindergarten through eighth-grade program includes both enrichment and remedial activities; it provides core content classes in the morning and incentive activities in the afternoon that focus on nature and fitness centered on “The Great Outdoors” theme.
Classroom activities for the younger grades include a million-word challenge urging students to read a combined one million words during summer school. Specific grade-level projects are also underway.
Special activities planned for elementary and junior high students include swimming at the Ava pool on June 1 and attending a movie in Ava and having popcorn and soda on June 8. Elementary students who miss no more than two days of summer school will go to Fritz’s Adventure in Branson on June 14. Fourth through sixth graders and junior high students will have a trip to Springfield on June 11 to visit the Discovery Center set up at Hammonds Field followed by a Springfield Cardinals baseball game. A special June 14 field trip for the older students is still being planned.
Superintendent Jeff Hyatt said the district’s ability to offer driver’s education and a junior high outdoor recreational class has helped increase enrollment in the upper grade levels. The junior high is coordinating its incentive activities with the elementary school, he said. Junior high students will also be hiking in Caney Mountain Conservation Area and doing other outdoor activities.
Summer school gives high school students who might be behind in credits an opportunity to catch up, Hyatt said. It also lets high school students complete required credits, such as personal finance and health, allowing more flexibility in arranging their schedules during the regular school year. Traditional “seated” classes are offer as well as online options, Hyatt said. The classes are set up in half and full credit options, depending on each student’s needs, he said.

Ozark County Times

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