What?! M.C. Kids Going to School Even When They Don’t Have To

More than 160 Morrow County students is first through sixth grades are enrolled in the Beyond the Bell program, which provides classroom instruction on Fridays when school is not in session. (Contributed photo)

Morrow County School District students don’t go to school on Fridays, since the district has a four-day school week. But some Sam Boardman and Windy River elementary students are choosing to go to school on Fridays, anyway. These students are enrolled in the Beyond the Bell program, which is open to all first through sixth grade students. This is the second year of the program, although last year it was an After-School model.

According to Brandon Hammond, principal at Sam Boardman, the program currently has 162 students enrolled, which is about a quarter of the total student population at both schools. The program runs from 8 a.m. to noon, a total of 64 hours in the 2019-20 school year, and includes full breakfast and lunch.

Classes offered are reading, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), creative art, language & culture, library (stop-motion animation), P.E., sewing, word play, social studies, senealogy and first-grade skill-building. Community members and community organizations participate and help teach. These include Oregon Trail Library District, the Sage Center and Paula Hansen, a community member who teaches sewing.

“With the state standards we must meet, it’s difficult to fit enrichment classes into the regular school day,” Hammond said. “Beyond the Bell offers students a wonderful chance to explore other interests and pursue new things.”

The Beyond the Bell program is connected to the schools’ Talented and Gifted (TAG) program, whose coordinators oversee it.

For more information about Beyond the Bell, contact Melissa Keefer at melissa.keefer@morrow.k12.or.us.