Speed Stacking Madness

Sophia Gillihan practiced cup speed stacking during summer school Thursday, June 15, at Central Elementary. On the first day of the rotation, students worked to have “light fingers” for grabbing the cups, and the order in which cups should be stacked and collected for best efficiency. Cup stacking helps student develop bilateral proficiency, as well as with sequencing, patterning and hand-eye coordination. Gradually, students will increase the number of cups and speed of the activity.     Missourian Photo/Karen Butterfield.

Roughly 35 percent of Union students spent the summer trying out the Union R-XI School District’s new Summer Journey program.

The summer session came to a close at the end of June, kicking off with 1,115 students and ending its run with 940 students.

Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold said this year’s summer school attendance was impressive and a good example of Union students’ eagerness to learn.

“I thought it went really well to start with over 1,000 when our regular population is just near 3,000 to 3,100,” Weinhold said. “That’s a great feat for the kids to have that great dedication to go to school, have fun and learn.”

Weinhold said the board would discuss whether the district will use the Summer Journey program again next year. He said the school would begin planning for the next summer session in August.

“It’s definitely something we’re looking at,” Weinhold said. “We’ll be looking at it and reflecting back on what we had and the pros and cons.”

He said the curriculum was a definite positive in the situation, citing many teachers shared experiences and reflections from around the district.

“The teachers think the curriculum was engaging and fun. It kept the kids entertained and kept them up to par on their education,” Weinhold said.

According to Weinhold, more than 150 soon-to-be kindergartners were enrolled in the summer session which will make their start in August an easier transition.

“That’s going to make for a great transition for our kids coming into kindergarten. I think it’s going to lead to a great beginning of the school year for our new kids,” Weinhold said.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Scott Hayes said many students came for the cash incentives and prizes offered through the Summer Journey program and the free meals the school district provided through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Hayes said the influx of students did present challenges to the administrative and day-to-day staff. Scheduling, hiring and even as bus routes were fluctuating because of the spikes in enrollment throughout the spring.