Summer school program expands

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With help from grant funding, more students are benefiting from the Adams 12 Five Start Schools Summer PEAK Program. The program is now serving double the number of students, with up to 240 kids receiving extra educational opportunities.

The district received two Expanded Learning Opportunities grants from the Colorado Department of Education totalling $78,000 that allowed the program to expand and offer transportation services to students. The Summer PEAK Program is at four schools, Rocky Mountain, Federal Heights, McElwain and North Star elementary schools. The program at North Star focuses on literacy and goal setting while the program at the other three schools focuses on STEM, science, technology, engineering and math, education.

“At North Star, the focus is really on literacy and we work with the Center for Safe Schools to also focus on the students’ social and emotional development,” said Stephanie Hansen, director of the Summer PEAK Program.

“At the other schools we have certified staff delivering the science curriculum in a way that is engaging and fun.”

The program is offered to students going into grades third through fifth and the student must be at least a grade level behind in reading.

The program is an extension of the district’s after school program. During the summer students attend the program from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Thursdays. Hansen said with transportation services now available, she’s already seen a huge difference in terms of enrollment. On the first day of the program, there were 59 students at the North Star location, compared to 36 students total at the school last summer.

“The grant has really allowed us to expand our services to the kids by being able to offer transportation to and from the program as well as being able to hire more staff,” she said. “This summer we are also going to be able to have some field trips for the students.”

Hansen said at this point in time she doesn’t have any hard data on students’ progress in the PEAK Program, but she is looking to hire an outside consultant to help pull out numbers and data information.

Even without statistical data, Hansen said she can definitely see a difference within the students who are participating in the program.

“The teacher and parent surveys are all very positive and we can definitely see growth in the kids,” she said. “Their engagement in the classroom is improving as well as their performance. Their attendance is even better, so I know PEAK is making a difference.”