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Summer literacy, math programs saved at Boyle

Summer math and literacy programs on the chopping block were saved by the Boyle County Board of Education in a meeting Tuesday morning.

“We presented to you the original plan because of budgetary reasons. These changes will be good for programs we have going on,” said Superintendent Mike LaFavers.

Educators had previously asked the board to reconsider cutting the funding for the programs’ salaries, which were included in cuts to an extra service salary schedule that saw reductions for the year.

But the programs will see some changes from previous years. Board members asked principals on Thursday to evaluate the programs and determine the most efficient ways to run those.

LaFavers said, “The literacy is mostly a remediation program, a program to make sure the kids who have a higher propensity to regress — we do something about that over the summer.”

In the past, each elementary school has run literacy programs differently, either through trips with students, by sending books home to them or a combination of the two. This year, Young said, they plan to stick to the model started by Junction City Elementary School.

Students select books of interest to them, which will be delivered twice during the summer, once in June and once in July, and they will be allowed to keep the books.

Allowing students to choose their own books is important, Junction City Principal Pam Shunk said on Thursday. She said many of her students in the program do not have books on their reading level available at home.

On Tuesday, Young said, “You can see how that would keep kids reading over the summer. That probably is the main factor in not regressing.”

A teacher coordinator at each elementary school will check in with the students regularly during the summer to ask about the books they are reading. Parents are asked to keep a reading log for their students, and when the students return to school in August, those who have kept up with their reading get to take a field trip.

Young presented the board with estimated costs, which he said were “per pupil” allocations: Woodlawn Elementary, $8,500; Junction City Elementary, $6,750; and at Perryville Elementary, $5,000; for a total of about $20,500. The items will show up in different areas of the budget, LaFavers said.

The summer math program has varied between elementary and middle school, but this year, Young said, all students in third- through eighth-grades will come to the schools over the course of 14 evening sessions between June and Aug.

Students get to sign up for the program solely based on who wants to participate. 

“Math is the gamut of learners … It’s individualized to make sure every child is being accelerated in some way, shape or form. Really, it’s a wide spectrum of learners,” LaFavers said.

Instruction will be tailored to the students, Young said, and the locations will be determined based on where the demand is the greatest.

The program will have two teachers, with the option of adding a third teacher, and will cost an estimated $4,000.

Board members asked if it would be possible to feed those students through the summer feeding program on the nights they visit; Young and LaFavers said they would check to see if it was possible.

The board also approved adding a $500 stipend for an instructor to teach the web-based journalism class at the high school, something LaFavers said Principal Mark Wade had requested.