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Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Pinellas ninth-graders might get summer help with algebra

ST. PETERSBURG — Registration is underway for Pinellas County Schools Summer Bridge extended learning program, but the anticipated thousands of students eligible for the six-week summer school aren’t the only ones who will spend their summer in a classroom.

School board members Tuesday are expected to discuss the schedule for the Summer Bridge program, now in its second year, as well as a new algebra component.

While Summer Bridge is meant to help students who are falling behind grade level, the new Algebra Boot Camp specifically targets incoming ninth-graders who have not taken an Algebra 1 course. During the six-week course, students will learn the skills to leap from Pre-Algebra to Algebra 1 with a curriculum from Carnegie Learning used in area high schools. The plan board members will discuss is meant to align with the new Florida Standards, which are built off the nationwide Common Core standards that all Florida schools will adopt next school year. The course will be technology-based, using e-textbooks that require students to complete individualized exercises at their own pace adapted to their specific skill level. The students will take the course at the high school they will attend in the fall, which should “create a greater level of comfort for these students in their transition to high school,” according to school district documents.

Weekly progress reports from Carnegie Learning will track students’ skill levels and help instructors to identify their trouble spots, school documents say. Once the students who attended the Algebra Boot Camp start the school year, their grades and end-of-course exam scores will be compared to those students who did not take the courses to determine its success.

Tentative dates, times and locations have been set for the Summer Bridge program, which is free for eligible students identified by test scores and teacher recommendations.

Voluntary pre-kindergarten courses, for 4- and 5-year-olds, will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, June 11 to Aug. 6. The classes include breakfast and lunch.

The VPK courses are scheduled for Belleair, Campbell Park, Eisenhower, Fairmount Park, Garrison Jones, High Point, Lakewood, Melrose, Mildred Helms, Rawlings, Sandy Lane and Tarpon Springs elementary schools. The school district will add four elementary school sites to last summer’s 27, in addition to 17 middle schools and all 17 high schools.

All other courses run Monday through Thursday, June 17 to July 24, and include breakfast.

Elementary students will attend classes from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. with free lunch, middle school students from 8 a.m. to noon and high school students from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. After care will be provided at all elementary schools, as well as at Bay Point, Dunedin Highland, Largo, Meadowlawn and Pinellas Secondary middle schools.

The school district is urging parents to register soon on the district’s website to ensure their child gets a seat, school district spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra said in an email. About 9,000 the 12,000 invited students attended last year’s program, and this year officials are expecting even more.

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