Summer School Enrollment Surges
Hunter Lunceford has big summer plans.
"I'm going to grandma and grandpa's to go fishing because they have a pond," said the kindergartner.
But other kids plan to spend the summer learning at school. Administrators say the Summer Adventure program helps everyone.
"What students find most beneficial is probably a chance to make new friends and continue learning," said Mary Humlicek of the Columbia Public School District. "I think their parents and their teachers value that they are continuing to learn during the summer."
About 5,700 Columbia students enrolled in school last summer. Enrollment is up to 6,200 this summer. High school students make up one-sixth and middle and elementary students comprise the rest. Each student with perfect attendance gets $100. For every day they miss, they get $25 less.
"I don't think that's the deciding factor in them going," said Mary Paxton-Keeley Principal Elaine Hassemer. "But, I think it certainly does help with attendance because, once they get started and know that they have that possibility, I see children really working hard to obtain that reinforcement."
Hassemer also said most summer students get some money. But, reinforcement or not, most kids taking summer classes say they're excited to learn. This is the third straight year Columbia students have had a financial incentive to go to summer school.