Knox students spend summer in Community Schools program

10:20 PM, Jun 12, 2013   |    comments
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School has been out for weeks in Knox County, but some students are still attending class in a unique program.

Knox County Schools' "Community Schools" program started four years ago. This year, it is holding a summer program at Pond Gap Elementary School.

According to Melissa Massie, executive director of KCS Student Support Services, the school district has seen improvements in student behavior and attendance rates. She said it has also seen students make academic gains in math and reading.

"We know that it is effective and that it is getting good results for kids," Massie said.

The program has about 60 kids participating at Pond Gap. Principal Susan Espiritu said it gives students a place to be while their parents are at work.

"A lot of us are in that boat at times and our students would not necessarily have a place to go," she said.

Students are exposed to art, music, and exercise programs during the summer. They also get two meals while at schools.

"For some families, that is a tremendous gift," Espiritu said.

And, the students at Pond Gap like it too. 11-year-old Jacqueline White said she likes hanging out with friends.

"I like it because I don't have to go home and lounge around, I can exercise and can get healthy," White said.

The program will expand to Sarah Moore Greene Magnet School, Vine Middle School and Christenberry Elementary School in the fall. Last year, the program expanded to Norwood Elementary School, Green Magnet Elementary School and Lonsdale Elementary School.

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