Portage middle, high school students could take part in summer program
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent March 23, 2013 11:42PM
Updated: April 25, 2013 6:18AM
Portage middle and high school students will have a full slate of activities to select from this summer in “Program 240” outlined to the Portage Township School Board on Monday night by high school assistant principal Jen Sass.
Program 240 builds on a program that was started last year as an experiment that opened the school’s media center as a summer destination for students. It arose from the question, “What to do with secondary level kids during the summer?” explained Sass.
“This gives the kids a chance to get off the couch,” said Sass. “If they’re not working or in sports, a lot of kids don’t know what to do.” Through the efforts of Sass, there will be plenty to do now.
This year activities are scheduled from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays at Willowcreek for middle-school students and on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the high school for high school students and will run for eight weeks beginning June 17 ending Aug. 1. No activities are planned for the week of July 4.
“We focused on what the kids want,” said Sass. Activities scheduled include art, swimming, biking, bowling, tennis and tours to local attractions including the Michigan City zoo and the Indiana Dunes. Most of the activities are free but some field trips come with a price tag attached.
Sass suggested that high school students may also be asked to perform some community service. “This is a chance for kids to do some positive things in the community,” she said.
The prospect of charging a fee for some of the activities led Board President Cheryl Oprisko to speculate about reaching out to the community for donations to fund the program, creating a scholarship fund.
“These are the kids that need it the most. Some families that this program targets may not be able to afford fees,” said Oprisko.
School superintendent Ric Frataccia echoed the sentiment, “I think it is a great idea to have the community fund the program.”
Sass estimated that up to 600 students could be served by the program at a cost to the school system of $15,000 in staff salaries.