Summer school provides wide range of opportunities for students

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Fifth graders Jack Dwyer and Eli Austin solve a Scramble Square brain teaser puzzle.
Mrs. Amy Rapp's first graders make rectangles and triangles using playdough and straws to learn about sides and vertices.

Boonville Summer School is off and running this year at both David Barton and Boonville High School.

With the completion of the 2020-21 school year a little over a week old, students in kindergarten through eighth grade opened the summer session on May 25 and will continue through June 20. Meanwhile, for students in grades 9-12, they also began their session on May 25 but will have a shorter span up until June 7.

With 450 students in summer school at David Barton and 224 at Boonville High School, Boonville Chief Academic Officer Cynthia Dwyer said summer school provides students an opportunity to have some really fun hands on learning activities and it’s a little different atmosphere than the normal school year. “We really try to have that hands on learning and just keep the kids engaged in learning activities throughout the summer,” Dwyer said. 

Of course learning is different at David Barton versus the high school. Dwyer said at David Barton, the kids spend the morning doing reading, writing, math, science and social studies-or their core classes-and then in the afternoon they’re doing more exploratory classes like robotics and coding STEM classes. She said the kids will also do a sport classes, craft class and LEGO building structures.

As for students in high school, Dwyer said some will be doing credit recovery, personal finance and health. 

The times also vary when students start at both schools. At David Barton, the students will begin at 7:45 a.m. and finish at 3 p.m. Meanwhile, at high school, the students start a little later at 7:55 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.

All students attend summer school five days a week Monday through Friday. 

Parents are also encouraged to get their kids enrolled as soon as possible, Dwyer said. She said signups for summer school usually begins in March and those kids are guaranteed a spot until the end of April. After that, Dwyer said kids can go on a waiting list if there is not enough room.

“I think we have about 15 kids on the waiting list right now to get in,” Dwyer said. “The kids usually entering first and second grade are the ones that fill up really fast. I think this year we had 85 entering kindergarten that are coming to summer school. We really think that’s a great experience, especially for them, because they learn the routines and learn how to go through the cafeteria, and then they get to meet some of their teachers that they will have and just kind of learn some of those foundational skills and get a little jumpstart for that kindergarten year.”

Students also have the opportunity to get bused to and from the school, although it’s limited. Dwyer said with only three buses doing routes, the kids have the opportunity to get picked up at Missouri River Tire at 179, Eagle Stop gas station at Highway 87, and Walmart. 

“We do have a lot of car riders,” Dwyer said. 

And while summer school was held in July last year due to COVID-19, Dwyer said the district is running just like the school year for 2020-21. She said there is extra cleaning and students can wear masks if they want to but are not required. 

Summer school is also voluntary for teachers, although  there is never a shortage for the 20 day session, Dwyer said. 

With 22 teachers at David Barton and 10 at the high school, the district also provides a total of three administrators for both schools. Dwyer said Leslie Reardon and Brett Frerking are the two administrators at David Barton, while Tim Edwards is the administrator at the high school. The district also has a nurse on site along with a secretary and support staff to help with lunch duties and recess. 

Dwyer said students will get two meals a day with breakfast in the morning, which is usually in their classrooms, and lunch at the cafeteria. 

“They will have a hot breakfast in the morning,” Dwyer said. “I think today they had sausage and cheese biscuits. Sometimes they will also have cereal, and then they will have a regular lunch around noon.”

At the completion of the 20 day session, Dwyer said students will have a fun day, where the Boonville Fire Department brings out their fire truck and the kids have a fun water play day. 

“We’ve done that for several years now and the kids love to run in the water” Dwyer said. 

Dwyer said it’s not out of the question for students to go on walking field trips, either. There are no bus field trips, she said. “They can take walking field trips to Lion’s park for a special activity, or walk downtown,” Dwyer said. “The teachers just need to let the parents know that they’re taking a trip.”