Peninsula students get extra help

Posted: Thursday, July 03, 2003

Like Anchorage schools, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District also saw an increase in summer school attendance this year.

The district offered summer remediation programs last month, serving about 550 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. That's at least 100 more students than last summer.

Though the district has offered summer programs at select schools in past years, this was only the second year a communitywide summer program has been offered. Classes were offered at schools in Kenai, Soldotna, Nikiski, Seward and Homer this year.

The program's focus on remediation, offering students a chance to catch up on basic skills such as math, reading and writing skills especially important for state-mandated tests like the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam and state Benchmark exams.

Paula Christensen, districtwide director of primary instruction and assessment, said the statewide focus on assessment tests, combined with the newness of the district's summer program, likely contributed to the increase in attendance.

"I think state-mandated tests are on everyone's minds," she said. "Parents are very diligently looking at their students' scores, and this is certainly one way to substantially help."

According to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, Kenai Peninsula students did well on the 2003 HSGQE.

About 76.2 percent of the 834 Kenai Peninsula sophomores passed the reading portion of the HSGQE this spring. About 78 percent passed the math portion, and about 87.3 percent passed the writing portion.

Those preliminary passing rates were among the highest in the state. Only six of the 53 Alaska school districts Copper River, Cordova, Haines, Petersburg, Unalaska and Wrangell reported higher passing rates on all three portions of the test. A handful reported higher passing rates on one or two segments of the exam.

Kenai Peninsula students also passed the test at a higher rate than students in Anchorage, the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

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