Copperas Cove ISD starts summer school and programs
By PAMELA GRANT
“Look at mine, look at mine!” shouted several young ESL students as they showed off their ‘A’s to each other, proud of their work.
Monday morning marked the first English-As-A-Second-Language (ESL) class of the summer, led by Candice Kelly, a Martin Walker Elementary Kindergarten teacher who is teaching the ESL class for her 3rd year. For her first class, she asked her students (future kindergarteners or 1st graders) to make an ‘A’ out of Play-Doh. Kelly said that working with Play-Doh is great for her young students and helps develop their fine motor skills which will help them to become better writers.
“She is fantastic with these students,” said Rita Alaniz, Coordinator of ESL & Bilingual Education, about Kelly.
Kelly said that she thought her class was going extremely well. She said that many of her students are already proficient in English and understand everything that she said, but still might respond in their first language. Kelly’s goal is to help the students work towards becoming more comfortable with English by working with phonics, hands on math, shared reading, and much more.
Monday morning was not only the first day for the ESL class, but also the first day of summer school, athletic training, and summer enrichment programs for the Copperas Cove Independent School District (CCISD).
However, this year’s summer programs are looking quite different from years past. The school district has taken several steps to protect their students and staff.
All students and staff members have their temperature checked before they can enter the building. Those that take the bus have their temperature checked before boarding.
Students arrive to the school between 7:30 a.m. until 8 a.m. with classes running from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
When they get to the school, they are escorted to the cafeteria where they receive their breakfast in a brown bag and are brought to their classroom where they eat and stay until classes begin. Lunches are also eaten in the classroom. Class sizes are limited to 10 or fewer students.
In the classroom, students are kept at least six feet apart to maintain proper social distancing and each receives their own supply bag rather than sharing with fellow students. They are asked to bring their own water bottles which can be refilled, but if they do not bring one, the school provides them with one.
Students and staff sanitize their hands often throughout the day. Students have the option of wearing masks; teachers are required to wear masks.
At the end of the day, each student will have their temperature taken again.
Rita Alaniz said that many parents felt a lot better about sending their kids to the school thanks to the measures being taken.
“I called homes during to see if parents would be interested in having their students come in. We also got some of the ESL and bilingual teachers to reach out to them—not to sway them, but to just give them the facts and tell them some of the things that we were doing to help deal with COVID, and a lot of them did feel a lot better about sending their kids here,” said Alaniz. “They mentioned how the kids were really missing their friends, and missing, obviously, their teachers.”