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Summer Stretch marks three years of growth

Summer Stretch is the New Richmond School District's way to ease students from Pre-K through seventh grade into the carefree days of summer.

Just after the regular school year ends, the District offers an additional free three weeks of "fun classes" beginning June 2 and ending June 20.

Summer Stretch begins at 8 a.m. and is done for the day by 11:30 a.m. Students may choose from 90 total classes, depending on their age group. Pre-K classes are limited to 18 students and each class engages in a variety of projects over the three weeks. This year, out of a total of 723 students enrolled in Summer Stretch, 121 of them are Pre-K children.

Kindergartners and first graders have 32 offerings from which to choose, ranging from "I Dig Dinosaurs" to "Writing Workshops" and "Build, Build, Build."

Second through fourth graders must choose only three of 31 classes, which include "Learn to Knit," "Gadgets Galore" and "Ducks and Pucks," just to name a few.

The 27 fifth through seventh grade classes are a bit more sophisticated for the older and more discerning students. A sampling of their choices includes "Digital Photography and Photo Editing," "Quiz Bowl Mania" and "Cooking from Store to Table."

Summer Stretch is in its third year as a half-day program and has seen incredible growth since it first began with 372 students.

Not to be confused with Summer School, Summer Stretch is strictly voluntary and for "fun." Some classes in Summer School may be mandatory for some students. Others are optional.

Teachers may recommend students take specific Summer Stretch courses based on their observations, but students and parents have the ultimate choice.

Deb Heyerdahl, director of curriculum and staff development, oversees the Summer Stretch program, but the building administrators, Steve Wojan at Paperjack Elementary and Doug Hatch and Michele Wood at the Middle School, run the program at the the building level.

A nutritious snack is provided to all students in Pre-K through fourth grade as well as a supervised recess time before the morning classes are over.