School’s Out Program Continues to Evolve

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Thursday March 03, 2016

The district School’s Out Program is one of the most popular after school and summer programs in the area. This was evidenced time and again over the years by the sight of parents and guardians camped out overnight at the school to secure one of the limited spots for their child. However, beginning in 2014, the registration process changed and now, the program is able to accommodate all interested families. Everyone who registered by the spring deadline was enrolled and no lottery was necessary.

The School’s Out Program, coordinated by Leigh Lamphere, has several program components of K-5 after school and summer programming. The program enrolled 310 elementary students for the 2014-15 school year in the K-5 program, which was up from 260 the year prior. Rick Marcotte Central School enrolled between 85 to100 children per day, Orchard School had between 75 to 85 children per day, and Chamberlin School between 70 to 80 children per day.
At the February 17 school board meeting, Lamphere presented evidence of even more positive growth. Enrollment has increased from 310 students to 420 elementary students attending full or part-time. This is despite cutting the middle school program due to low enrollment.

Although the program is only serving about 10 percent more students daily, the flexibility in program scheduling has allowed more students to participate. The program now offers sessions Monday through Friday as well as Tuesday/Thursday, and Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Rick Marcotte Central School now boasts 90-104 students per day, Chamberlin School has between 75-90 students per day, and Orchard School has between 85-95 students per day.

As student and program needs have changed, Lamphere has continued to work to make the program interesting and financially viable. The decision to end the program at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School in December 2015, due to low enrollment, is just one example of Lamphere’s flexibility. Students who had been enrolled were offered the opportunity to be bused to one of the elementary school programs.

Even with the addition of an administrative position and the transition of the previous part time administrator to full time, the program will still end the year in the black. The projected net profit this year will be $72,302, which will bring the fund balance to $249,336.

In addition, Lamphere’s summer programming continues to be a success. Camps are offered at Orchard and Chamberlin Schools and include reading, writing, and math components. The weeklong TREK (travel, recreation, experience, and knowledge) camps have been particularly popular. A new offering this year will be on a “mission impossible” theme. More details will be released on the district website in the beginning of March. Enrollment begins online March 14.

It may not feel like it, but summer is coming and the district’s kids are sure to be enticed by the activities offered at School’s Out.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent