Springfield Public Schools Explore summer program enrollment starts this week (March 6-10)

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 6:23 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2023 at 6:25 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - March 6-10 marks the beginning of registration for the Springfield Public Schools summer program known as Explore.

Different grades start enrollment on different days:

March 6- Grades 10, 11 and 12

March 7- 7:30 a.m.- Grade 9

March 8- 7:30 a.m.- Grades 6-8

March 9- 7:30 a.m.- Grades 3-5

March 10- 7:30 a.m.- Grades K-2

Deadline to register for seated classes in June is May 15

Deadline to register for seated classes in July is June 15

Enrollment for virtual classes does not close

Elementary and middle school students can choose virtual or seated classes

High School is virtual only

Seated classes are offered for K-8 students June 5-30 and July 10-21

Virtual classes are offered for grades 1-12 during two, four-week sessions of June 5-30 and July 5-31.

High school students can earn up to two credits during the summer with virtual classes.

You can call the Explore office at 417-523-4747 and for high school online questions call 417-523-0417.

For complete information on the Explore program including classes available, go to sps.org/explore

Going to school in the summer used to be something few students wanted to do and there was a stigma attached to summer classes that the only people who attended were those who needed to get their grades up.

But that image has changed with the success of the Explore program as over the last decade the summer school attendance has gone from around 3,000 to as high as 12,000.

The best way to describe Explore is that it’s more like summer camp with youngsters allowed to choose a class that interests them.

“It’s about choosing a school you want to attend, the method you want to take the class and the type of class you want to take,” said SPS Chief Communications Officer Stephen Hall. “You can explore a variety of things from the performing arts to experiencing nature like hiking, kayaking, and bird watching. We also have arts work courses that are back by popular demand. We can work with you to customize your summer learning experience.”

The SPS Ag Academy is an example of the types of classes available in Explore as fifth graders there are operating their own green house.

Among the many pots filled with seeds is one that says, “Charlie L’s Lemons” that belongs to Charlie Langston.

“I had a lemon for lunch one day so I gave the seeds to them,” he said. “I don’t know if it’ll grow or not but why not give it a try?”

And by getting that hands-on experience in the green house Charlie has also planted some seeds in terms of his career choice.

“At first I wanted to be a referee or something like that,” he said. “But now I want to be a chef.”

Charlie also pointed out that he’s thinking about attending the Explore summer school because of the fun he’s had at the Ag Center.

“You go from a regular school where you’re reading and writing to a place where you can taste what you’re learning,” he said. “But not only do we have an amazing green house but we get to interact with animals too. Currently in the classrooms we have baby chicks, two bunnies, one bearded dragon and two guinea pigs.”

With a line-up like that it’s no wonder students look forward to coming to school every day. And why the hands-on fun of the Explore program has brought more interest in summer school.

Even non-SPS students are free to attend the Explore program.

“If you are not an SPS student you do have to request a student ID in order to register but just call the Explore office and they’ll set you up with that,” Hall said. “Research shows that the more we remain engaged in learning during the long-extended breaks the more learning we retain. And that makes the start of the next school year all the more successful.”

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