Washoe Co. school intersession program grows

Listen to the story

Washoe Co. school intersession program grows

Crayons_1

 More than three dozen public schools in Washoe County were open for intersession classes and activities during the district's winter break. The program has grown from just ten participating schools back in October.

Under the district's new balanced school calendar, hundreds of faltering students can play catch-up during a handful of week-long intersessions sprinkled within breaks throughout the school year.

Washoe County Schools Area Superintendent Richard Swanberg says that for high schoolers struggling with challenging courses, like Algebra II, intersession gives them a shot at recovering a half-credit if they've failed a course.

"A lot of our kids, they fall behind, and when they start falling behind with no way to catch up, they just give up.

So, even though we give them opportunities in the summer, they're not motivated; they're just like, 'OK, I'm in this hole and I can't get out.' This is a way to keep them going."

Longer breaks from school do mean that many parents must find additional childcare if their kids are not participating in intersession, but Swanberg says the programming is critical for high school students and younger pupils alike.

"We have to catch them by third grade. If we don't catch them by third or fourth grade reading at grade level, it is so difficult for them to get the concepts in later grades. It has a huge impact on whether they walk across that stage, and that's our goal, so it's imperative that we reach them early."

The district's board of trustees approved balanced calendars for this school year and next after holding more than fifty town hall meetings to gather public input on the change.