School not all out at Sumner

Published 8:41 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Carrie Whiteaker, a first-grader at Sumner Elementary, tries to squeeze cheese onto a sandwich during the Constellations program Tuesday. -- Eric Johnson/

Omar Aguilar is ready for school.

The Sumner Elementary School fourth-grader is spending part of his three-week intercession break getting extra practice in things like addition, subtraction, division and multiplication — things he already knows, but needs a little help on.

“It’s getting us prepared for fifth grade,” Aguilar said.

Mark Olliffe, left, and Jadon Bentzin a fourth and third-grader respectively at Sumner Elementary, vie for the ball during a soccer game behind the school as part of the Constellations program.

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Aguilar and about 60 students are spending two weeks of the intercession break catching up on their work as part of Sumner’s plan to boost student learning through its new 45/15 calendar.

“It’s another way to connect with students,” said Tina Strauss, Sumner physical education teacher. Strauss and fellow teachers Jennifer Lloyd and Enrique Camarena-Corzo put on Sumner’s Constellations program Tuesday afternoon. Sumner staff are offering optional afternoon activities so students have something to do while they’re on vacation.

That means about 45 students learned how to make sandwiches, practiced juggling and played a little soccer Tuesday. While Strauss had students juggling (which studies show helps students’ learning development), Lloyd taught students how to make pumpkin sandwiches and brought in her mother to talk about life on a farm.

“It’s a pretty good turnout,” Lloyd said.

Camarena-Corzo led students in soccer drills, making sure students are active after some of them finished studying. He loves the new schedule as it allows students to process the things they learn and gives everyone a little downtime before continuing the school year.

“When (students) come back, they’re excited to learn,” Camarena-Corzo said. “At the same time, they don’t lose anything academically.”