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Idaho district begins summer school to address education gap

June 11, 2021 GMT

BURLEY, Idaho (AP) — School district officials in Idaho have started offering a full summer school program to catch up all students who may have fell behind academically during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cassia County School District was prompted to move to a full program to fill the educational gaps caused by the pandemic during remote learning, The Times-News reported.

In previous years, the district offered limited summer school to migrant programs or after-school programs, Cassia County School District spokesperson Debbie Critchfield said.

“The Cassia School District hasn’t offered open and full summer school programs for any student in more than 20 years and perhaps longer. Those around now can’t recall it outside very specific schools or student participation,” Critchfield said.

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Raft River Elementary School Principal Melina Ficek, who is coordinating the full summer program for the district, said it was launched because students who recently returned to school were “further behind than before.”

Officials said 840 students signed up out of an average student population of 5,500 across the district.

White Pine Elementary School Principal Diana Gill said parents were thrilled when the decision was made to hold a summer program. About one in six students out of the school’s 600 students showed up for the first day of summer school Monday.

“The impetus was to offset learning loss that was anticipated at the end of last school year. We are no different than other districts who want to supplement learning in any form. Clearly every student experienced a disruption in learning, but it is most felt by the earliest learners,” Critchfield said.

The Cassia School District estimates the program will cost about $600,000 — with $490,000 coming from Republican Gov. Brad Little’s learning loss money and $100,000 from federal stimulus funds.