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Gimme a break!

Spring break provides a nice escape from classes for students before they gear up for the final months of the school year.

Some elementary students, however, will spend part of a week in early April in class trying to get caught up.

Coupeville Elementary School will hold an “intercession class” during spring break. The three-hour-a-day classes will concentrate on math, reading and writing. The classes will provide a bit more help with students who have fallen behind.

“It’s an intervention for these kids who need a little help,” said Fran McCarthy, Coupeville Elementary School principal.

She said approximately 20 students, comprised of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, are expected to participate in the course. Teachers identified students who are at risk of failing. Parents have until the end of the week to sign their children up.

The classes are funded by Student Achievement Act dollars from the state. Those dollars, which come from Initiative 728 that voters approved in 2001, can go to help reduce class size; fund extended-learning opportunities that help improve student achievement; provide professional development for teachers; and provide pre-kindergarten support for children and to make improvements to facilities that directly reduce class size, according to the Office for the Superintendent of Public Instruction Web site.

The Coupeville School District receives $345,840 this year from I-728 money.

One teacher and at least one instructional assistant will work during the class. The teacher will earn $35 an hour and the instructional assistant will earn their regular wage of $10.66 to $13.61 an hour. One spring break course is expected to be offered this year.

The April spring break marks the third year for the intercession course at Coupeville Elementary School.

Glenda Merwine, who was elementary school principal before becoming student learning director for the district last year, said the program provides a smaller class for student that gives them a chance for more one-on-one instruction.

She said the class also allows students to maintain skills that may diminish during their week off. The students enjoy the class as well.

“You know what, they love it,” Merwine said.

McCarthy said while students should show an improvement in class, the intercession course is just one tool used to help improve academic performance.

“This is one piece of many things we do for the kids,” McCarthy said.

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