District 51 begins intercessions at spring break

Organizers hope to make a week of middle school math remediation feel like day camp during District 51’s first-ever spring break intercessions.

The district started school a week early in August, in part to shorten summer break and extend spring break from one week to two from March 24 through April 4.

Students whose Transitional Student Assessment Program scores show they are the farthest away from grade-level proficiency will be invited to spend the first week of break participating in what the district is calling an intercession week.

The goal in future years is to have an intercession week during spring and fall breaks and for one week after school ends each May, according to Mary Jones, District 51 executive director of academic achievement in secondary schools.

“We’re almost building a year-round academic calendar so kids aren’t losing as much” between breaks, Jones said. “It’s one more opportunity to get ahead.”

Elementary students will go to one of six elementary schools to work on reading, writing and math during spring intercessions.

All four traditional high schools will have five days of morning sessions for invited students to work on credit recovery, ACT test and college preparation, make up missed TCAP tests, or spend more time on math and literacy, among other options.

Students in alternative programs can work on a math-centric project at Western Colorado Community College.

Intercessions for most grades are limited by the district budget, but the School District 51 Foundation has set a goal of raising $30,000 to support middle school programming during March.

The money will help pay for up to 400 middle school students’ meals and transportation to and from school during the intercession week as well as pay for intercession teachers.

Students will take three math classes taught by certified teachers and two elective classes that will incorporate math.

Volunteers will lead the elective courses, including rocket-building and robotics classes from the John McConnell Math & Science Center of Western Colorado, a baseball clinic with Grand Junction Rockies staff, and a certified hunter education class sponsored by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The goal of mixing math and electives is to make intercessions an attractive alternative during spring break, according to District 51 Foundation Coordinator Jennifer Hensel Hildebrandt.

“Altering things about school so it doesn’t feel like school will make more kids want to participate,” she said.

Middle school intercessions will take place at Redlands and Bookcliff middle schools, with classes open to students from all middle schools.

Students invited to intercessions because of TCAP scores will receive first priority. Registration for other students, who will have to pay $75 to participate, will take place in February if slots are still available. Invited students will be notified this month.

Parents who want to place their child’s name on a wait list for intercessions can contact Jo Pifer at 254-5323.


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