January 4, 1996 in City

Smart Students Have Chance To Get Smarter Saturday Classes Offered To District’s Brightest Pupils

Carla K. Johnson Staff writer

The Spokane School District will open a Saturday school next month for 150 of its brightest students.

The district will pay for the Saturday Academy program this year, keeping the cost under $10,000. District officials hope Spokane businesses will shoulder the cost next year if the program succeeds.

“There’s been a lot of talk about extending the school day, extending the school year,” said Superintendent Gary Livingston. “We don’t have the money to do it. Here’s a chance for the community to step up to the plate.”

In Spokane, selected students in grades five through eight will design machines in a science program, use graphing calculators in a math program and study humor in a humanities program.

Only students who scored at the 90th percentile and above on an achievement test will be invited to apply. About 1,000 students will be invited to apply to the program.

If more than 150 students apply, a lottery will whittle the numbers to 50 per class.

Students will meet on four Saturdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the newly remodeled Libby Center, 2900 E. First.

The math and science programs will be held on Feb. 24, March 23, April 20 and May 11. The humanities program will meet Feb. 24, March 16, April 13 and May 18.

The district scheduled the program to avoid Junior Bloomsday and other popular Saturday events.

The program is free, but parents must provide transportation.

The district selected teachers with experience leading gifted students. They will use two new computer labs at Libby.

“If this is received well and we get support, we can expand it next spring and possibly look at similar activities year-round,” said district Curriculum Director Nancy Stowell.

The idea for the Saturday Academy came from the district’s strategic planning process, which set goals for the district in 1994. The district’s first goal is: “Challenge all students to achieve at higher levels so they can succeed in post-secondary education and the world of work.”

The district is trying to do a better job challenging students at all levels, Livingston said.

, DataTimes

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