Middle-school programs making an !MPACT this summer

April 13, 2010

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Looking for something to keep your elementary or middle schooler occupied this summer?

Look no further than the Issaquah School District’s summer programs.

District officials are registering students for their Club Connection and !MPACT programs through April 16. The programs provide care for students from 7 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. during the workweek, and provide fun activities and field trips for students at neighborhood schools all summer.

“It’s not a normal summer camp and it’s not a daycare,” said Amanda Enright, a program leader. “This is way more fun for kids. In fact, we’re away from the schools three days a week. And on the days we’re there, we have cool activities, like theater improv, video game design contests, water battles, cooking and food fights.”

!MPACT serves all 2010-11 incoming sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. There are two locations — Beaver Lake Middle School and Pacific Cascade Middle School (the former freshman campus).

Club Connection is hosted at five locations: Apollo, Challenger, Grand Ridge, Cascade Ridge and Sunset elementary schools.

Families can register students to attend either program up to five days a week from 7 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. for $40 per day. There is a minimum registration of three days per week for the week or weeks you’d like your student to attend.

The fees for both programs include snacks, recreation activities, field trips and transportation to field trip events.

But this year, the fun doesn’t stop when summer’s done, Program Coordinator Nathan Winegar said.

For the first time, !MPACT will be offered during the school year. Elementary schools already have programs.

“It is something we’ve been envisioning for several years,” he said. “We’ve just never had the room to do it and with the new boundaries, we’re finally going to have space for our own classrooms and we’ll be able to pilot the program at three locations.”

The three locations are Beaver Lake, Pine Lake and Pacific Cascade. They were chosen because there will be enough space for them and also because there isn’t another resource for students there, Winegar said.

The program would also have been piloted at Maywood, but the school will be under construction next year. The reason Issaquah Middle School wasn’t chosen was because it is right next door to the Issaquah Community Center, which has programs in place and is widely used by teens already.

The new program has been long awaited by parents who have used the district’s after-school care in the elementary schools for years, Winegar said.

“We kept getting parents asking us for it,” he said. “Many of them came from the elementary programs and were surprised there wasn’t something offered at the middle schools.”

The School Age Care program has operated in the district at each elementary school for more than a decade. It is a cost-neutral program where parents pay to have their children watched before and after school by employees who are hired through the district’s process. Students work on homework, receive snacks and engage in arts and crafts and recreation activities.

The !IMPACT program for middle school students will follow the same model, but engage middle schoolers on their level, Enright said.

Recreation leaders like Enright said they are working to get teachers on board to provide additional classes, like technology or nutrition and cooking. They are also working to procure billiard tables, Xboxes and ping-pong tables.

The program will also help students access after-school tutoring opportunities already available after school in the middle schools through funding from the Issaquah Schools Foundation.

“It isn’t meant to compete with resources already available, but there will be time for students that need extra help to get help through their teachers or extra programs,” Winegar said. “It will also give students a chance to explore other opportunities and hang out with their friends in a safe place. It’s meant to be like a club you belong to.”

Again, the program is cost neutral for the district, since parents are charged a monthly fee to have their children enrolled in the program. A student registered for five days a week will cost $225 per month, he said. For three days a week, it will cost $135 each month and for two times a week $90 each month.

Unfortunately, because organizers don’t know what the response will be, they aren’t able to guess how many scholarship memberships will be available for families and students in financial need, Winegar said.

However, if it is as popular as the summer camp option for middle schoolers, Winegar said he would use part of the fees paid by parents to build a scholarship program immediately.

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

Summer programs

!MPACT:

  • Beaver Lake Middle School serves students from Beaver Lake and Pine Lake middle schools.
  • Pacific Cascade Middle School serves students from Issaquah, Maywood and Pacific Cascade middle schools.

Club Connection:

  • Apollo Elementary School serves students attending Apollo, Briarwood, Maple Hills and Newcastle elementary schools.
  • Challenger Elementary School serves students from Challenger, Discovery and Sunny Hills elementary schools.
  • Grand Ridge Elementary School serves students attending Cascade Ridge, Endeavour and Grand Ridge elementary schools.
  • Sunset Elementary School serves students from Clark, Cougar Ridge, Issaquah Valley and Sunset elementary schools.
  • Register by April 16 here.
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One Response to “Middle-school programs making an !MPACT this summer”

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