Summer sessions are past for some

Summer school has all but been eliminated for Richmond County children in elementary and middle school.

Starting this year, third-, fifth- and eighth-graders who fail the required portions of Georgia's Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests will no longer be going to summer school for remediation, the school board voted Tuesday night.

Instead, these pupils will get the needed remediation immediately after the school learns the results of the CRCT in the spring. They will then take the CRCT retest at the end of May, a week after school ends.

"The big thing is the kids are there," Executive Director for Middle Schools Virginia Bradshaw said of the new remediation schedule.

Typically, many of the pupils in need of remediation don't attend summer school, Dr. Bradshaw said. By offering the remediation as part of the regular school year, parents won't need to arrange special transportation and more pupils will receive the additional instruction.

The new approach also has the benefit of keeping children at their regular schools, she said. During summer school, children are clumped together by clusters of schools and they are taught by summer school teachers, not necessarily the teachers who have worked with them for 180 days during the year.

The academic material will also be fresh in the minds of the pupils with the new schedule, Director of Student Services Carol Rountree said.

"The state offered that as an option, and I think a lot of districts are going for that," Dr. Rountree said.

The Georgia Department of Education moved up the window for CRCT retesting this year, spokesman Dana Tofig said. This change allows school systems the flexibility to retest pupils before school lets out for the summer.

In Georgia, children must pass the reading portion of the third-grade CRCT and the reading and math portions of the fifth- and eighth-grade CRCT in order to advance to the next grade.

Dr. Rountree said the changes with summer school give pupils added motivation to perform well during the school year to avoid being held back.

Pupils who pass the CRCT will begin work on the next grade, Dr. Bradshaw said.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

The Richmond County school board approved:

- Selling the Martha Lester School to Augusta Capital Inc. for $241,000 and rejecting the bid by Augusta Wood Preserving Inc. to purchase the old Hornsby Elementary School for $200,000, which is $100,000 less than its appraised value

- Allowing Lake Forest Hills Elementary School to pursue the Primary Years Programme, the elementary school version of the International Baccalaureate Programme

- Establishing an Arts Infusion pilot program at Warren Road Elementary School

AWARD: Also at the meeting, Science Coordinator Stacey Mabray was surprised with the announcement that she was named the Robert Alexander Administrator of the Year by the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center at the University of South Carolina Aiken.