It was a busy summer for administrators and staff at Union R-XI, with almost two times the amount of students enrolled in the summer session than in a typical year.
Now, the district and school board are in the early stages of mulling over the academic and satisfaction outcomes from the Summer Journey program provided by Catapult Learning.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Scott Hayes said the review of the results will mark the beginning of discussions on whether the school district will renew with Catapult Learning next year.
From an academic standpoint, Catapult Learning’s pretesting and post-testing scores revealed a 62 percent increase of students answering correctly in language arts and reading and a 173 percent increase in mathematics.
At almost every school in the district, summer testing scores doubled or raised by more than 15 percent. At the middle school, for instance, summer school students started the session by answering 182 questions correctly overall. At the end of the session, the students answered 888 questions overall.
Attendance averaged 80.2 percent each day. Enrollment at the start of the session topped out at 1,179 students. According to district officials the session ended with roughly 940 students.
The district had initially set a goal for 1,000 students, which was quickly surpassed. Last year, summer school only attracted roughly 500 students.
According to Summer Journey’s results from satisfaction surveys, 78 percent of the summer session’s staff had a positive experience with the new program. Some, out of the 27 staff members who were surveyed, left comments, some positive and some with concerns or suggestions.
One staff member described the courses as too difficult for some students or expected too much of them. Another said they thought the cash incentives are a good idea, the prizes should not be based on attendance.
Parents of summer students were also surveyed. Out of 353 parents, 97 percent said they would recommend the summer session to other parents. Several who were surveyed left positive comments about the program’s lessons, rewards and features like free breakfast and lunches.
One parent said the incentives kept their child going through the summer session. Another said even without the cash incentives, her daughter enjoyed every day of the program.
The school board is set to discuss the results of the summer session at its monthly meeting Wednesday night.
“This will probably be the first time we’ll talk about if we want to do this again or not,” Hayes said.
He said the program had excellent results on almost every front. He said the delay on students’ cash incentive awards was a concern that would most likely be discussed before a possible renewal but said other than that the program was a success.
Catapult Learning sent gift cards for one free movie to students after the cards were delayed to apologize for the delay.
Currently, Hayes said he is reviewing the numbers from a satisfaction and academic standpoint to see what will best suit the district.