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Students swarm to Summer Experience

MSD: about 1,500 students per session expected

The Medford School District was still hiring staff late last week to meet the demand for its first — and possibly only — summer learning program dubbed Summer Experience, which is slated to start Monday at 11 school buildings, including eight elementary schools.

In an update to the school board during a recent work session, Medford School District’s executive director of teaching and learning Jeanne Grazioli said the district has hired 340 staffers and counting, including 45 teachers from outside the district, in order to handle the 1,300 to 1,500 students per session who have signed up. Summer Experience will be four sessions, each approximately two weeks long, Monday through Thursday.

Grazioli said the vast majority of the students who signed up — roughly 800 per session — are at the elementary level. About 160 middle-schoolers and 300 high-schoolers also are expected to take part, she added.

“It’s all based on available staffing, and it’s hard to find people who want to work in the summer,” she said, “but I think we’ve done a pretty good job of getting as many as we did.”

The district is still attempting to squeeze in approximately 300 students currently on the waiting list. There’s no waiting list for high school or middle school students, she said, only elementary students, because that’s where the demand is and that’s where the district is scrambling to find enough teachers.

“So every day we’re looking at that,” Grazioli said, “we’re looking at our numbers, our sites, where that student might go and seeing if we can find a place for them. And that’s what we just started doing (Thursday).”

The district is no longer accepting wait list applications, and all families who applied to the wait list have been told to expect an email notification updating their child’s status by June 11.

To maintain a 10-to-1 student-to-staff ratio, the district has hired college and high school students ages 16 and older as support staff.

The district also has released a list of enrichment activities for students beyond the focus on core subjects. Elementary students will be able to take part in a safety fair, survival games, soccer lessons and reader’s theater, and study drumming and Chinese art. Middle-schoolers will be going to SOU to use the recreational center for rock climbing, e-sports and gym activities. They may also take part in alternative sports such as Frisbee golf, pickleball and lacrosse. High-schoolers will be able to study French cuisine, welding, forensic science, robotics, personal finance and music, among other subjects.

Summer Experience classes will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon each day, followed by a noon to 12:30 p.m. lunch. Extended care after-school options, which will be available until either 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. each day, are also available. The district will be staffing the after-school program, but has contracted with Kid Time Children’s Museum to receive guidance on how to run it in a deal that includes plans and materials.

The second two-week Summer Experience session begins June 28, the third July 19 and the fourth Aug. 2.

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@rosebudmedia.com.