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The Roanoke schools superintendent outlined a proposed summer enrichment program.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Roanoke schools officials got a more detailed look Tuesday at the system’s new extended learning program, which will begin this summer.
Superintendent Rita Bishop briefed school board members on the scope and curriculum of the program, RCPS+. It was approved by the board last month and will increase class time for some students on an opt-in basis in hopes of bolstering achievement.
Bishop has stressed it isn’t traditional summer school, but rather an enrichment program that will more than triple the amount of time students have traditionally spent in class during the summer.
Class sizes are also expected to be small, and students will work with one another and lessons will be hands on.
The 28-day program is projected to have an enrollment of 2,000 students and will be staffed by 100 teachers. There will also be a librarian at each of the nine sites, two shared guidance positions, two shared instructional technology resource teachers and a special education staff.
Bishop said the system’s administration has already been in talks with staffers and have some teachers lined up for the program already.
RCPS+ will run from June 17 to July 26 with no class July 4 and 5. It will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for students. Transportation to the program will also be provided.
Information about RCPS+ will go out to parents Friday, and enrollment will begin March 25.
The program will take the place of traditional summer school for kindergarten through eighth graders. High school summer school will remain as is.
RCPS+ will be open to all students and free of charge, but Bishop said some students will be encouraged to attend.
“We’re clearly going to have to talk to some families because there are some students that certainly need this,” she said, later adding, “There’s a number of kids we just have to talk to and have to talk to their family and in a very respectful manner tell them they need to be there.”
Bishop first brought up the concept of an extended school year in January during a joint city council and school board meeting. At that time there weren’t firm details or a specific proposal, and concern spread among parents who saw extending learning grinding their summer plans to halt.
Last month a firm proposal was hammered out and the board signed off, even amid some concerns over the cost of the program in a lean budget year. Officials anticipate spending about $1 million.
RCPS+, which will focus on reading and math, will have three programs: elementary, middle and a transition to high school. The latter will be for rising ninth graders and in addition to science and math will focus on preparing students for high school.
In other actions, the board:
n approved a personnel report formally assigning Stonewall Jackson Middle School Principal Ed Shepherd to a post at William Fleming High School.
Bishop said the report that the board approved included Shepherd’s transfer and the installment of Bill Birdlebough, formerly an assistant principal at James Madison Middle School, as Jackson’s acting principal for the rest of the school year.
She did not say what position Shepherd assumed at Fleming, citing the fact it was a personnel matter.
According to a letter sent home to parents Monday, Shepherd asked to be reassigned.
n approved the 2013-14 categorical budget with a total spending plan of about $166 million, which will draw on the system’s fund balance to cover budget-to-budget expenditure increases of about $10.6 million.
The categorical budget is intended to be an estimate, and changes can be made. Currently it does include a 2 percent raise for employees.
n approved a 2013-14 school calendar with a pre-Labor Day start. The first day of classes for students will be Aug. 19. The last day will be May 29.
The early start, though, is contingent on Gov. Bob McDonnell signing a budget bill containing the provision allowing schools with an early start waiver to keep them. Virginia law stipulates classes must begin after the summer holiday unless systems get a waiver from the state.
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