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How Springfield Public Schools changed its summer program this year

In this file photo, Charlee Crawford, a student at Cowden Elementary, searches for critters with a net at the Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill Park during the Springfield district's summer program, Explore.

Citing high demand for its arts-focused summer program, Springfield Public Schools will expand and offer Fine Arts Academy for middle-schoolers.

The highly popular Artworks program isn’t going anyway. It will serve students in grades 3-5 at three locations: Bingham, Bowerman and Jeffries.

The middle school Fine Arts Academy, an offshoot of Artworks, will be for grades 6-8 at Parkview High School.

Dana Hubbard, director of summer learning and student experiences, said Artworks had been grades 3-8 but parents balked at the set-up.

“We had some parent feedback that to have eighth graders in a class with third graders was, maybe, a bit of a stretch,” she said.

By splitting the programs and expanding offerings for middle school students, the district hopes to gain insight. In the coming year, the district will explore creating a new middle school magnet called the Academy of Fine Arts.

“We have some really fun and exciting programming,” Hubbard said.

dana hubbard

Classes include art, band, orchestra, choir, ukulele, ceramics, photography, theater performance, theater tech and design, and creative writing. For certain classes, the district will partner with the Springfield Little Theatre.

“This is a new venture for us so these offerings could possibly be expanded in the future as long as the demand is there,” Hubbard said.

The new Fine Arts Academy is part of the district’s summer program called Explore and enrollment is ongoing.

This summer, Explore will look a little different.

For in-person classes, there is a single, six-week session, June 6 through July 15. They are only offered for kindergarten through eighth grade.

“We extended the school day by an hour,” Hubbard said. “Since we were shortening the length of the summer (in-person session), we decided to keep kids at school a little longer.”

There will be in person classes for kindergarten through eighth grade available for six weeks this summer.  The classes start June 6.

In elementary buildings, classes will start at 8:20 am and end at 3:50 pm In middle and K-8 buildings, it will be 7:30 am to 3 pm

Students in grades 1-12 can take virtual courses during a pair of four-week sessions, June 6-30 and July 5-29.

The only in-person summer classes available for grades 9-12 are for students who have special needs or are English language learners.

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