District 13 continues to host summer program
Jon Klippenes, Summer Academy director and teacher at Bel Air Elementary in New Brighton, presented an annual report to the Columbia Heights School Board during its Oct. 23 meeting.
Columbia Heights Public Schools serves as both the host and the financial agent for the North Suburban Summer Academy program, which is held at the high school and Highland Elementary.
The program is designed to address the special needs of the gifted student. In addition to Columbia Heights, Fridley and Mounds View are a couple of the member districts.
For the past 33 years, Summer Academy has offered an expanded, hands-on and interactive learning environment. Students engage with community experts and teachers to explore real life learning places that relate to their class, and students create projects that are shared at an open house.
This past June, 28 Columbia Heights Public Schools students attended the academy. Klippenes said there were 57 class sections this year, which is 10 more than last year. He said part of the reason for the increase was being able to offer more financial assistance.
About 1,200 students attended the academy this year, which is a 20-percent enrollment increase over the past couple years, he said. More Columbia Heights High School students served as teaching assistants, and 50 percent more students came from Columbia Heights.
Beth Fawley, District 13 excel coordinator, serves as the Summer Academy Board chairperson, and Duane Berkas, District 13 director of teaching and learning, serves on the Executive Board.
The Columbia Heights School District has hosted Summer Academy since 2000. Prior to that it was rotated among the member districts.
“Summer Academy continues to be able to provide an experience for gifted and talented students where they can explore, where they can create and where they can be with others who have similar interests,” Klippenes said.