Summer school canceled in Oconto Falls, Gillett

Registration was significantly down this spring
Oconto Falls School Board members and staff attend the May 11 board meeting via remote teleconferencing technology.

Warren Bluhm | NEW Media
Warren Bluhm
News Editor

OCONTO FALLS — The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision on extending shelter-in-place orders last week let stand Gov. Tony Evers’ executive orders that closed school buildings through the end of June.

The decisions disrupted not only the high school graduation ceremonies, originally scheduled this week and next, but plans to hold summer school starting in mid-June.

After reviewing its options – including an effort to conduct a “virtual” summer school online — the Oconto Falls School Board decided May 11 to cancel this year’s sessions planned for the months of June and July.

Superintendent Dean Hess said sign-up for summer school has been significantly lower this year.

Registration for summer school opened April 24, and through early May about 363 slots were taken, said Joanne Michalski,

“At this point last year we would have had over 1,000 to 1,100 spots filled already,” she said.

District policy has traditionally been that a class that draws fewer than eight students will not be offered.

“Most of the classes would not be running in a normal year,” Hess said, adding that the courses that have enough registrants are not ones that would be closing achievement gaps in core areas, like math, science, social studies or language arts.

“If they were, I think that our conversation would have a different flavor,” he said.

The amount of professional development training is expected to be higher than normal this summer as teachers are provided with additional education about teaching in a virtual environment, Hess said.

“We were absolutely building the plane while we were flying it since March 15,” he said. “We’d like to, if possible, be able to land that plane for a few weeks, i.e., a couple months, and be able to do some work on it before we’re taking it back off in late August.”

The Gillett School Board voted to cancel summer school for the 2019-20 school year during a special meeting May 7.

Lena is also not running summer school this year, Michalski said, although some school districts closer to Green Bay are going with a virtual option.