Crook Co. schools see largest summer school numbers in Central Oregon


Crook County School District has welcomed a record 1,358 students in summer school programs this year, a massive increase from what is typically less than 100 students.

Students across grades K-12 are taught by more than 160 staff members, which includes high school students who have been trained to teach kids at the elementary level.

“I was shocked when I saw the final numbers, but so thankful we can provide this opportunity for our families,” said Superintendent Dr. Sara Johnson. “Students have lost so much this year because of COVID-19, so we believe summer school is a great opportunity to keep students on track and ready for next school year.”

In what is now the largest summer school program in Central Oregon, school staff serves 620 elementary students, 397 middle school students, and 341 high school students.

The so-called “Summer Blast” program for elementary students focuses on STEM education.

The “Summer Series” programs for middle school and high school students include woodshop, science and baking, rockets and drones, ceramics, guitar, and other hands-on activities.

Classes allow high school students with credit deficiencies to make up for lost ground during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While these classes are meant to be fun and engaging, we have to focus on students who struggled last year and need that extra lift to catch back up,” said Dr. Johnson. “We owe it to our families to provide additional support given how difficult remote learning was for so many students.”

Summer school classes take place Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through July 29th, with varying time schedules for each grade level.

Masks and social distancing are optional, but not required.

Students are still required to go home if they display any COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for the virus.

“District teachers and staff were heroic during the pandemic as they creatively provided educational opportunities to keep schools open as much as possible,” said Chair Scott Cooper of the Crook County School Board, “But it’s undeniable that we lost learning opportunities for some students. Summer school is a chance to earn some of that back.

“The creative way the staff has added back student engagement activities should make this a ‘third semester’ to remember.”

There are still spots available for middle and high school students to join the “Summer Series” programs.

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