Darien’s summer and continuing education program produced a surplus of $265,231, with 2,341 students enrolled, with 5.4% more in summer school. This figure was the highest over the past nine years, reported Christopher T. Basta, director of summer school.
Darien offered over 250 programs this year, ranging from pre-school to drivers education and SAT prep classes. Drivers ed and SAT prep will continue into the school year.
Sports camps were 38.6% of enrollment — the largest portion. The next highest was enrollment for elementary academic enrichment programs, at 34.1%; 14.55% for art, theatre and music programs; 7.53% for middle school enrichment, and 5.21% for high school enrichment. Despite the relatively low enrollment in high school academic enrichment classes, enrollment increased 29 percent since last summer.
Basta also described some goals for the programs, such as afternoon sports and post summer school care, based on an online survey of parents. Summer afternoon programs would allow students to participate in academics in the earlier part of the day. They also plan to add weeklong programs to accommodate families that wish to go on vacation, Basta said.
In response to a question from vice-chairman Clara Sartori, Basta said he believes that Darien is able to complete with private programs like the ones at the new Chelsea Piers because its sports camps have “personality” and winning coaches available.
Summer school alone generated a $261,084 surplus. The first year of afternoon programs generated a surplus of $9,000.
Continuing education from fall 2011 through spring 2012 generated $ $4,147.
The report said “Darien’s summer school program is the most comprehensive and learner-centered summer program available in the region.” Basta explained that many of the enrollees were from Darien, but some came to fulfill credit requirements and take enrichment classes from Westchester and surrounding areas.
In response to a question from board member Sarah Schneider Zuro about whether the “popular jumpstart program” will need more staff, Basta said that neither the academic Jumpstart nor the original version are “maxing out.”
Board member Heather Shea asked if the 29% increase in high school programs could be students taking classes to recover credits they failed during the year. Basta clarified that algebra 1, 2 and geometry was offered as credit recovery summer classes with twelve, one and six students enrolled, respectively. Algebra 1 had students from other districts. He added that students could recover credits with private tutors.
Basta thanked Marilyn Dunleavy, who acts as the summer school secretary, and Nurse Valerie Maroney, who is at Middlesex Middle School during the year.
“You’re doing a fantastic job,” said Chairman Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross. “The key is getting the catalogue out and making sure the parents have it in their hands.”