Arizona Republic
October 18, 2006

Author: Tony Lombardo, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2

There was no sleeping in, but at least he got out of chores.

Eighth-grader Geovanni Galindo took four days out of his fall break and showed up for class at Lattie Coor School in Avondale last week.

While other students slumbered, he and about 230 of his schoolmates attended the school's second-ever reading intercession, held during the first half of Avondale Elementary School District's two-week break.

The morning intersession targets students in need of extra help with reading and vocabulary skills, said Jessica Worthington, intersession coordinator and second-grade teacher.

The bulk of the participants are English-language learners, some two or three years below their grade level, Principal Lori Goslar said.

"They're working toward grade-level standard, and we're putting the support in place to help them outside the regular academic day," she said.

The program served students in second through eighth grades. Classes were kept small at 10 to 15 students per class, compared with 25 or 30 during the normal school week, Worthington said, allowing for more one-on-one work.

Geovanni, 13, didn't mind missing some of his break to hone his skills.
Otherwise, the Avondale teen would have been bored at home. Or worse, he would have been cleaning his room, he said.

While some of the older students required coaching from their parents to attend, most have remained committed to the extra work, said Crystal Yost, the teacher leading the eighth-grade intersession.

"They've been awesome. You have to give them props for coming in when they could be sleeping," she said.

Lupita Jimenez, 13, of Avondale, didn't want to attend the classes at first, but her mom pushed her.

"I thought I was going to be the only one," said Lupita, surprised to see some of her friends also in attendance.

Second-graders spent the week learning vocabulary and phonics by playing a lot of educational games.

"NNN ... AHHH ... TTT," students said during a phonics exercise. "Not!"

"We make the sounds," said 7-year-old Jesus Orozco of Goodyear.

Bertha Penvelas, 8, knew why she was in class learning, even though other students were taking time off.

"I want to pass," the Goodyear girl said. "I want to pass the second grade."

The program, which cost the district $8,000-$10,000, will be offered again next year, Goslar said. To help gauge success, students were given a test before and after the intersession, she said.

Students who need extra math help will have their own program beginning early next year.

CAPTION: 1. Teacher Stacey McPhall and second-grader Bertha Penvelas, 8, work on sounding out letters as they read words using a rubber band at Lattie Coor School. CAPTION: 2. From left, Destiny Gonzalez, 7, teacher Stacy McPhall, Berta Penvelas, 8, and Jesus Orozco, 7, sound out words using a rubber band.
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Southwest Valley Republic
Page: 10

Index Terms: RANKING
Copyright (c) The Arizona Republic. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.
Record Number: pho154375469

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