Krystel Fernandez Torres, wearing a set of gray wolf ears and a long, gray tail, had no trouble huffing and puffing
and blowing away the straw and stick houses of two of the three little pigs.
The pigs – all wearing pink ears – ran away as members of the “Three Piggy Opera” sang the story on stage before an audience at Shasta Elementary School, where students from all over the district attend migrant summer school.
Krystel and her classmates are among more than 170 students attending Klamath County School District’s 19-day migrant program, spending the majority of their days working on math, reading, and writing. The program this year added P.E. classes as well as a three-day bicycle safety course and a chance to learn about fire safety from Captain Randy Simonson and firefighters Dave Sonneman and Brett Ooshier, firefighters at the nearby
Klamath County Fire District Station 2 at Hilyard Avenue and South Sixth Street.
Tiffani Poe, who taught the bike safety course, led fourth- through sixth-graders on a ride to Olene last week. This was the first year migrant summer school offered the course and was able to do so by using Shasta Elementary School’s fleet of mountain bikes. The federally funded summer school is for migrant students and English language learners. Currently, nearly 600 students in the district qualify for the program. It is taught by district teachers, who often do so because they see benefits in their classrooms in the fall.
This year, 174 students are enrolled in the program, which offers classroom learning for pre-K through eighth grades and credit recovery for high school students. Other high school students work as volunteers, receiving community service hours.
Academically, the teachers teach the same curriculum used in their regular classrooms. In the mornings, the focus is on reading, writing, and math. After lunch, students participate in enrichment activities such as science and art projects and music.
“The kids come here because they want to be here,” said Ruben Paschal, the program’s principal. “The teachers go above and beyond and are dedicated to seeing each one of these students succeed come fall.”
Students stay in the grade they were in and teachers reinforce the curriculum, usually the last module their class covered in math and reading. Teachers plan their curriculum ahead of time, making sure to address specific state standards in reading and math.
Sharon Cosand, who teaches second grade at the migrant summer school and fifth grade at Merrill Elementary
School during the school year, always adds music to her curriculum. Last year, she taught students to play xylophones. This year, her class performed the musical play, The Three Piggy Opera.
“Music is too important to not do,” she said.
Third- and fourth-graders on Wednesday had a chance to hike to the summit of Hogback Mountain, and all students will attend a movie day on Friday, the last day of school.