More than 600 Washoe students play catch-up

Listen to the story

More than 600 Washoe students play catch-up

School_books_and_apple

Even though it's fall break for K-12 students in Washoe County, about three dozen schools are open this week. The break provides an opportunity for about 500 kids to play catch-up.

With this year's new balanced school calendar, students and teachers get three weeklong breaks--one in the fall and two next spring.

Paul LaMarca is chief school performance officer for the district. He says these intersessions allow students who are behind to get tutoring and support as they prepare for tests, including high school proficiency exams.

The breaks benefit teachers, too.

"It's also a time where teachers might be able to do some planning that they're not used to having during the school year. And that would ultimately benefit kids."

LaMarca has heard from parents on both sides of the fence. Some are thrilled that their kids are getting more help, while others are struggling to find childcare.

"I am a parent. My boys are actually away on a trip right now, but if they weren't away on trip, I would be a parent who would need to find additional care for them this week. And that can be difficult."

Right now, it's mostly the high schools that are offering intersession programs. By next spring, more elementary and middle schools will participate as well.

LaMarca says all this additional support is meant to increase the graduation rate. The district hopes to boost that rate from 72 to 80% by 2015.