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Classes address individual needs

All over the county third-, fifth- and eighth-grade students wait at their bus stops to go to school.
These students had a week of vacation before returning to school to study for their third attempt at End of Grade testing.
They have two weeks of intense study, and if they don’t pass the test this time, the students, all of whom are in gateway years, will have to repeat a grade.
“We want them to be successful, and we want them to get the attention they need,” said Donald Welch, principal of the school.
The summer school takes place in Lincolnton Middle School from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every weekday.
Students work in small groups and receive individual attention from their teachers. Classes range in size from five students to 10.
“There’s no way in these small groups you can get overlooked or left out,” said Ginger Thompson, a summer school teacher. “The more individual help they get, the better they’re going to do.”
The school is made up of 65 students, and each child changes class three times a day.
Staff believe that most students in summer school feel upbeat about attending.
“I hate to say it, but it’s kind of like going to summer camp,” said Welch.
Of course, not all students like the idea of going to school in the summer. If a student skips class or misses their bus, someone is sent to the child’s house to bring them to school.
“It’s a priority that everyone is here,” said Welch. “If they’re on my list, I want 100 percent attendance.”
Students who need help in reading attend the first two weeks of school. They will be re-tested on June 17.
Students who have failed the math portion of the End of Grade tests attend the second two weeks of summer school and are then tested on July 2.
Before coming to school each child has a plan written specifically for them targeting their needs.
Teachers are quick to make the lessons fun in order to get their students interested.
“I’ve given away a whole can of pretzels today,” said Clarice Poovey. “It was a little incentive.”
She found that rewarding children with pretzels makes a difference in their work.
“Once the food in the tummy came into effect they decided to read a little more carefully,” said Poovey.
Teachers have different reasons for working at summer school. Some need the extra paycheck, while others don’t want to spend too much time away from teaching.
“I just find it rewarding to see those little lights turn on,” said Poovey. “It’s nice to give them one more shot at passing.”
Most students who fail their third attempt at the test will be kept back a year.
Some students can appeal, and if they exhibit a portfolio of grade level work they completed throughout the year, they can move on to the next grade.by Sarah Grano

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