Summit School District’s new summer program includes music, engineering, environment courses |

Summit School District’s new summer program includes music, engineering, environment courses

Zachary Hoppe, 6, of Summit Cove, feels a tree blindfolded while Mya Peroutka, 7, of Fairplay, helps. The students participated in a summer class called WAC-y walks (Wild About Colorado) on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, led by Continental Divide Land Trust program manager Rachel Winkler. Winkler taught students about local ecology outside Summit Middle School. In partners, one student led another blindfolded to feel and smell a tree before returning to a starting point, being asked to find the tree and then switching blindfolds.
Alli Langley / |


Summit School District elementary schools will be open for elementary students to exchange books and for secondary students to use computer labs and receive support in advanced online classes.

Breckenridge Elementary

Thursdays — June 18, July 2, July 9, July 16, July 23, July 30 and Aug. 6

Noon to 2 p.m.

Dillon Valley Elementary

Thursdays — June 18, July 2, July 16, July 30 and Aug. 6

4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Frisco Elementary

Thursdays — June 18, July 2, July 16, July 30 and Aug. 6

4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Silverthorne Elementary/Elks Lodge

Thursday, June 30; Tuesdays — July 14, July 28, Aug. 11

5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Summit Cove Elementary

Thursdays — June 18, July 2, July 16, July 30; Friday, Aug. 13

Noon to 2 p.m.

Upper Blue Elementary

Tuesdays — June 9, June 16, June 23, July 7, July 14, July 21, July 28, Aug. 4

Thursdays — June 11, June 18, June 25, July 9, July 16, July 23, July 30, Aug. 6

Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Thursdays 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Though school ended for summer break on June 2, Summit Middle School bustled with children and teachers the following week:

On Wednesday, June 10, a group of preteen students tested out new engineering skills with Brooke Carson, who has worked for NASA and the Keystone Science School, before building robotic cars.

In the opposite corner of the school, Dillon Valley Elementary kindergarten teacher Emily Galvin taught impressionist art history, and students painted T-shirts and worked with clay, wood and glue.

In the music rooms, kids played piano and harp with professional harpist Janet Harriman, and, in a nearby classroom, students worked on their reading and math skills. Outside, a handful of young children learned with Continental Divide Land Trust program manager Rachel Winkler about vertebrates, metamorphosis and what different species of trees smelled like.

About 120 students signed up for the first session of the Summit School District’s inaugural summer-enrichment program, one of three pilot initiatives the district is doing this summer.

Robin O’Meara, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, said schools weren’t getting the results they wanted from a more traditional, brick-and-mortar summer school offered in the past.

Last year, the district’s summer school served roughly 200 of 1,500 elementary students with below-grade-level skills in reading, writing and math.

With the funding used to support that program, the district this year is instead using roughly $35,000 to host three sessions of the summer-enrichment program, which includes academic support and remedial coursework, as well as two other new programs aimed to help younger children read.

Every incoming kindergartner was given a backpack full of books — an initiative that has already been successful at Dillon Valley. The district will also open its six elementary schools on specific dates for children in kindergarten through fifth grades to exchange books as they read them during the summer.

While the elementary schools are open, district staff will also be paid to support secondary-level students taking advanced math classes online and working in the computer labs.

The enrichment program filled when more than 300 students registered in April for the free classes.

Some teachers are non-district staff who are paid by the district or are volunteering their time, while others are district staff using their passions in a less-structured way than typical school-year classes. Students and teachers have been enjoying the courses, O’Meara said.

During the Monday class of gold-panning and local history taught by Summit High School teacher Garrett Regner, she said, students even found some gold.

This is the first year a district summer program has offered advanced courses and electives like art, public health, architecture, coding, physics and Japanese language and culture.

Lunch is not provided, but the program includes free bus pick-up and drop-off for morning sessions and pick-up for afternoon sessions. Some parents told the district they would like to enroll their children in the summer program but couldn’t because classes weren’t all day.

Because this is the enrichment program’s first year, O’Meara said, the district hopes to work out kinks and present an improved program next summer.

For more information, including detailed course descriptions, visit and download the summer enrichment course catalog or contact Robin O’Meara at (970)-368-1205 or

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