RNESU summer program kicks off


BRANDON –– OVUHS Moosalamoo Center Director Josh Hardt is teaching a group of seven students about fishing this summer in a week-long seminar by starting with the basics — searching for worms under rocks and pallets behind the school because he “forgot” to bring them, he said with a wink and smile.

“Confidence, fun and adventure is what we all need right now,” Hardt said, about the program that is part of a state and federally funded three-year COVID recovery plan for students K-12 in the Rutland northeastern school district.

“I am ecstatic at the opportunity to take something as culturally relevant as fishing and turn it into something that leads to a higher level of understanding,” said Hardt, 41.

Students will read Norman Maclean’s “A River Runs Through It,”compare and contrast water quality, keep notes in journals and practice catch and release though they will eat one fish, as part of the course.

There to assist is paraeducator and bus driver Katrina Fielder, who will drive the group to the Neshobe River, Proctor Falls, the Lemon Fair in Shoreham, and the Chittenden Dam to learn about the science and art of fishing.

Funding and approval came mere weeks before scheduling was supposed to take place, so school officials, teachers and paraeducators had to take fast action to create summer opportunities for this year, including course work within what the school is calling a summer learning institute.

RNESU Superintendent Jeanné Collins says that “next year, when we have more lead time to develop curricula, we’ll have better programming,” adding that “the kids really seem happy to be together and doing something fun and normal. I think it’s going well, and we have good participation.”

This summer there are summer offerings from July 5 through Aug. 6 ranging from academic to social-emotional to credit recovery to tutoring. RNESU’s goal, Collins said, is rectifying the negative effects of COVID and addressing current statistics that show more than 50 percent of students at Neshobe Elementary and OVUHS are struggling in core areas.

There is also free breakfast and lunch programs to all students, even if they are not participating in RNESU’s summer learning.

MOOSALAMOO CENTER DIRECTOR at OVUHS Josh Hardt lifts a pallet so that students can find worms before they set off on their fishing expedition.

Grades 7-12

Students in middle school and high school are meeting at OVUHS for credit recovery, tutoring, summer enrichment, and leadership programs that has OVUHS Principal Jim Avery “excited to get students re-engaged with learning.”

Credit restoration courses are as follows: English 9, 10, 11 and 12; French 1, 2 and 3; Spanish 1, 2 and 3; biology; earth and space science; chemistry; algebra 1 and 2; consumer math; geometry; integrated math 1, 2 and 3; financial math; US government; world history; US history; and other courses that may be added later. These are all provided virtually.

Summer learning institute courses include: art, painting murals, and clay studio; 7th grade transition camp, notably Aug. 9 through 12; Hardt’s fishing program; rock and river program; OV 101 for any new 8th graders entering the school; martial arts; woodworking; engagement and leadership; community garden; cub reporters journalism; and reading and writing tutoring and support.

Grades K-6

Most elementary students will be at Neshobe Elementary with some limited tutoring available at Lothrop Elementary and art, sports, and tutoring at Barstow Elementary.

There is in-person programming including mini camps and tutoring from 7:45 a.m. until 10:45 a.m., at which point children can stay at Neshobe through the SOAR aftercare program until 4:45 p.m.

“This has been a Herculean effort,” to pull this summer’s program together, said Director of Curriculum at RNESU Kristin Hubert. “It is testimony to the community and Rutland Northeast. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for students to stay connected.”

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