The early bird gets the worm—or at least his or her most desired summer school class. This week marks the beginning of (SPEF) summer school registration where parents line up at the crack of dawn to ensure their children stay educated—all year round.
This is how it works: there are four summer school registration days. The first took place Monday for elementary students, the second Wednesday for middle-schoolers and the third and fourth will take place April 21 and 27 for high schoolers. Parents must first obtain a registration number between 6 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. When they return at their designated time later that evening, they can sign up for classes depending on which ones are left.
While the first parent arrived at Monday morning at 3:22 a.m. for a 6 a.m. start time, Denise Durrett—mother to 5-year-old Sophie—arrived at 4:18 a.m. She received No. 19 of 230 elementary school parents.
Durrett and another mother in town shared responsibilities throughout the day—something to keep in mind for first-timers.
"I went this morning with Sophie's paperwork and her best friend's paperwork," Durrett said Monday. "Her friend's mom went back for the second half of registration, because I work until 6 p.m. Raising children really does take all hands on deck."
While Sophie obtained a spot in Birdology ($140), Chess ($145), Karate ($150), Spanish ($140) and Ocean Science ($135), Durrett said she would still would have been happy if her daughter had gotten her second or even third choice.
"It's important for her to learn about disappointment," said Durrett. "And really, I would have preferred having her stay home and play outside all summer, but most kids are so overbooked that there's no one around to play with—so off to summer school she goes."
With her oldest child 23-years-old, Durrett has been a part of SPEF's registration process for past 16 years. And with so many under her belt, she can't help but wonder—why isn't the process yet online?
"We use the district's database to register the kids," explains Board Member and Chair of the Summer School program Norma Lee. "We hope to go online sometime in the future, but that is not yet available."
Classes range from Getting Ready for Kindergarden ($495) to Improve Comedy! ($175) to Driver's Education ($130). And with many schools around the state and county cutting back on these types of programs, "it's a great service to the community," said Lee.
SPEF became an incorporated 501(c)(3) organization in 1980 thanks to a small group of concerned parents and residents. Since then, it has raised more than $6 million to support and restore district programs.
To learn more about SPEF's summer school program, click HERE.