D.36 changing summer school program
Updated: February 21, 2013 9:16AM
WINNETKA — Hoping to provide a better extended school year for their students the Winnetka Public Schools District 36 administration has developed some changes to their summer school program.
Some students involved in individualized education programs qualify for ESY services at the district’s expense. IEP teams determine which students are at risk for significant regression over the summer without ESY services, which have historically taken several forms.
The district offers individual instruction hours (typically six in total) provided to the student by a district teacher, provides remedial classes offered at the district’s Adventures in Learning summer program or offers students with significant needs the ability to attend the NSSED/NSSRA summer program.
The decision on which ESY option was chosen was largely left to the preference of the parent. The vast majority of parents choose option one.
Director of Pupil Services Mark Ditthardt said the district can do better for its students and asked to eliminate the first option, replacing it with a new program amounting to up to 16 hours over the course of the summer. Students would receive 40 minutes of daily instruction in a given subject area such as reading, math, writing, etc.
“I’m recommending we create a robust summer school program through Adventures in Learning at no expense to the families,” Ditthardt told the school board at their Feb. 12 meeting.
Some students may be eligible for more hours if they take more than one class.
According to a district memo in 2012 there were 75 students in pre-kindergarten through seventh grade recommended for ESY services. Most of these students received six hours of one-on-one instruction while some also received six hours of speech/language ESY services. The approximate cost to the district for those services was $49,000.
Under the new five week plan in the ESY model Ditthardt said it is anticipated four full-time teachers and two associates would be needed at Adventures in Learning to cover the ESY eligible students. Two speech/language pathologists would also be needed and the total projected cost of the new program would be $23,450.
“Compared to previous years it’s less than half of what we paid in the old model,” Ditthardt said. “It’s a more efficient use of money. It’s done in the context of a fun summer camp and a win-win all the way around.”
Information about the proposed changes in ESY services will be provided to the parents of students potentially affected.