Taking off

RIPLEY – At the Ripley School Board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Lauren Ormsby said the opening celebration for “Eagle University,” the new elementary summer program, was a “smashing success.” More than 100 students are signed up for at least one of the three sessions and 85 attended the first day, she said.

The program represents a departure from the classic form of a remedial summer school, Ormsby said. Rather it is a program for any student to continue learning throughout the summer as well as take part in educational experiences.

“Eagle University” meets from 8 a.m. to noon, followed by the town recreational program from noon until 4 p.m., Ormsby said. It involves 15 teachers, two bus drivers and the custodial staff. Also, some of the town recreational staff come in the morning to help out. Breakfast and lunch are provided through Chautauqua opportunities, she said.

“The kids are getting themselves up and dressed to be here at 8 o’clock,” Ormsby said. “They want to be here and they are happy here.”

The program employs “college rules” of conduct, Ormbsy said. That is, the students can sit where they want, and move about if they want. “We’re giving them a little bit of freedom and they are living up to it,” she said. “The first day we told them to sit where they want and they all went to their assigned seats from school.”

Each session is two weeks long and involves different teachers and courses. There are also continual activities, such as the elementary school garden located in the courtyard, she said.

Right now, the program is open to any child living in Ripley for the summer, Ormsby said. “We were going to open up to other districts, but when we saw that we had 100 students signed up, we decided we should hold off for now,” she said.