Nearly 5,000 students a day gave up their fall break to go to class in Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Teachers throughout the district helped students of all ages catch up on their studies during intersession, an intensive minicamp the district began offering during fall break last year.
Most schools wrapped up intersession classes last week, and the rest finished Wednesday.
Older students could focus on state graduation tests, and younger students could hone reading and math skills, said DeAnn Davis, executive director of elementary education and reform for the district.
Administrators told principals they could expand their courses, as long as the number of students in each group stayed small.
“If you can find the teachers, you can have the kids,” Davis said.
This year, there have been more kids.
The second year of intersession classes is more popular than last year, Davis said, and officials would like to see the programs grow.
About 5,000 students attended classes each day, according to district statistics. The district is home to about 43,000 students.
About 300 students showed up each day at Shidler Elementary. At Cesar Chavez Elementary, more than 200 students came each day. Coolidge, Heronville and Stand Watie elementary schools had about 150 each day.
But it's still better than summer school.
“By far and away, we're having more people attend intersession than summer school,” Davis said.
Teachers like that they can offer intensive help throughout the school year, not just at the end.
The more intimate setting can benefit some students who are shy or afraid to answer incorrectly, Davis said. The smaller class size can be a low-risk environment for them.
“They get a little bit more engagement,” Davis said. “The students that always know the answers aren't there, so they have an opportunity to shine.”
The class can also improve the bond between teacher and student.
“That kind of relationship develops into one that serves us all well,” Davis said.