The regular school session may be out for Beatrice Public Schools, but that’s not stopping Paddock Lane Elementary from being a hub of activity.
More than 300 kids are coming to the school on weekdays throughout June.
There’s a room-full of kids dancing in one classroom, a group painting in another. One classroom is designed to be like a spa: cucumber slices, warm towels, relaxing music and all.
With all the excitement, it can be hard to imagine that this is actually part of the Best Possible Summer school.
“It’s supposed to really meld the fun and the learning,” Jodi Fakler, assistant administrator for the program, said. “So kids are having fun all throughout the building. At the same time, working on those core skills: reading, writing and math.”
A lot of the activities directly tied to what they were learning. For example, making caterpillar art projects after reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, or working on their writing skills by explaining a scene that was drawn by a fellow classmate.
“Kids get excited about coming here, and that’s what we strive for,” Fakler said.
How the program works is students get to sign up for four week-long classes (except for the Harry Potter class, which is two weeks to allow for time to read “The Sorcerer’s Stone”). Classes are split into morning and afternoon, and are determined by how much the students’ parents sign up for.
Fakler said the afternoon Blast Program classes are more sports-focused, and is funded through the Beatrice Educational Foundation. There are also classes and field trips partnered with local groups like Homestead and Community Players.
“I think we’re providing a great service to the kids in our community and keeping them kind of focused on the learning without even knowing it,” Fakler said.
Another unique opportunity – for all children in Beatrice, not just the summer school students – is that Paddock Lane received a grant to provide free breakfast and lunch throughout the end of the month.
Fakler mentioned that a group of teachers willingly forego part of their summer to teach these classes.
“I would just praise our staff, teachers and paras,” Fakler said. “They do a great job. Every year I’m just so impressed and amazed by the creative ideas that they have for their classrooms, and that’s really the heart and soul of summer school.”
Updates on all the activities the kids get to do can be found on the Facebook page “Beatrice Best Possible Summer 2019."