JEFFERSON — Summer school registration numbers for the School District of Jefferson saw a boost this year in “nonresident” enrollees.
The school district’s summer school program has seen very good participation in recent years, especially among nonresidents, said summer school director Richard Lehman, who shared a report on the program Monday evening during a regular session of the board of education.
Lehman, whose main position with the district is as associate principal at Jefferson High School, served as a co-director for the summer school program, along with Nick Skretta, who previously served as Sullivan Elementary School principal and this year took over the Jefferson Middle School principalship.
Attendees in the program are fairly evenly spread between the Jefferson district elementary, middle and high schools, with around 10 percent of attendees enrolled in area parochial schools or home-school during the regular school year. Some families come in from outside of the Jefferson school district, as well.
The majority of students fall into the elementary age range, with less in the middle and high-school age range, the board learned.
The summer school program offers three types of programs: academic booster programs from pre-K to “Ready, Set, Go” classes concentrating on elementary reading and math; enrichment classes ranging all different topics from computer coding to art offerings to Lego construction and learning about outer space; and credit recovery, intensive classes to make up high school credits. The latter have attendance requirements and intensive schedules of up to eight hours a day.
In addition, the summer school program includes two free meals per day for all student attendees and for other minor children living within the school district who are welcome to drop in at lunchtime. These meals are funded via grants.
Laying out the enrollment trends from the past several years, Lehman noted that the 2019 summer school enrollment came to 1,013, including a record 104 non-resident students. This compares to a total enrollment of 1,104 in 2018, including 82 nonresidents.
The total enrollment numbers jumped around a bit in the years prior to that, with the number of nonresident students gradually rising.
Total enrollment in 2017 came to 1,109, including 71 nonresidents; in 2016, 1,078 with 54 nonresidents; 2015, 1,137 with 57 nonresidents; 2014, 1,143 with 45 nonresidents; and 2013, 1,138 with 60 nonresidents. Figures for 2011 and 2012 were lower, and were not broken down to show nonresidents, if there were any.
In 2012, the district recorded a total summer school enrollment of 1,082 and in 2011 it recorded a total summer school enrollment of 968.
Translating that into “full-time enrollment” numbers that count toward the district’s annual “membership” for tax purposes, for 2019, the district was able to record 90 residents and 10 nonresidents for a total membership boost of 100. In 2018, the district was able to record 89 residents, eight nonresidents for a total membership boost of 97.
In 2017, the district was able to record 92 residents, six nonresidents for a total membership boost of 98; in 2016, 98 residents, five nonresidents for a total membership boost of 103; 2015, 102 residents and five nonresidents for a total membership boost of 107; 2014, 98 residents, five nonresidents for a total membership boost of 103; 2013, 99 residents, six nonresidents for a total membership boost of 105. Meanwhile, the total membership boost from summer school in 2012 was 99 and in 2011 it was 92.
Aside from the two co-principals, Skretta and Lehman, the program employs 67 certified staff members, 48 of them regular School District of Jefferson teachers, two of them former district staffers, and 17 from outside the district.
This year’s staff included 14 new certified staff members, eight from the district and six from out of the district; 36 paraprofessionals, 11 of whom worked in special education; 16 swim support staff; two administrative assistants; and 33 student volunteers (referred to as “tutors”) who assisted various classes and teachers.
New courses in 2019 included: Chess, Creative Writing (upper elementary through middle school level,) Cricut Crafts, three gymnastics classes; History of Rock and Roll for middle-level students; Music in Film for middle-level students; Beginning Piano; Puzzles and Games, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math,) STOMP (a combined exercise and music-making class); Story Hour, and Ultimate Frisbee.
In total, the summer school program offered 127 total courses, including three high school credit recovery subjects and Jefferson Middle School credit recovery programs.
Credit recovery opportunities were offered in Biology, Physical Science, freshman and sophomore English, Algebra, Geometry overseen by local teachers, and various courses through the PLATO program.
Finally, the district included a “kindergarten camp” for incoming kindergartners. This year’s program included 55 enrollees, reflecting a demographic trend toward fewer children being born in the area.
In comparison, the 2018 summer school prekindergarten program enrolled 61 students. In prior years the numbers were: 56 in 2017, and 63 in both 2016 and 2015.
The district did have buses serving the summer school program — not to pick each child up from their house, but to bring students from the Sullivan/Rome/Helenville area into town in the morning from a main pick-up area and back in the afternoon.
The district recorded a total of 144 bus riders for the summer school program, including 30 students whose transportation to a daycare or “cluster” pickup was covered separately via parent contract.