From The World Of Parks & Recreation
By Doug Comer
As the weather appears to take a dip in temperature and the smell of fresh cut grass fills the air it means that school is back in session for another year as well as the extracurricular activities. And with that, Parks and Recreation is gearing up for our Enrichment Programs for the year.
August 24th was the first day where teachers could schedule for our programs that include Medieval Times, Passports and, of course, “Walking with Dinosaurs”. As of today, the schedule is almost full as kids from daycare facilities up to middle schools are planning to participate.
“Our enrichments have been an important program to the Parks and Rec,” said Director Mike Book. “Our scheduling process has to be pretty strict in order to make it fair for those wanting to schedule for their classes. And we try to accommodate as best as possible to those who do not get the dates they requested.”
The process for registration we put into play gives all teachers, who request dates, as much as a chance to get the dates they request as the next one. Book gives us a better understanding of how the process goes.
“We open the requests four school days after receiving the flyer we delivered to all grade and middle schools in the county. Also, with the help of RESA 7, we emailed the flyer to outlying counties in case there is interest with those schools as well. All requests come via email only and we take first come first serve for all requests. It’s the most simplistic and fair way to get things accomplished.”
“After the dates have been set, I send a link for the teachers to register their class. We just ask for some of the basics in order for us to be prepared for their visit. We ask for the size of the class, the time they usually eat lunch, as well as any special requests in order to make their day enjoyable. Once registration is complete, an email confirmation is sent to the office and added to the spreadsheet to ensure that the registration is complete.”
“The registration has been a process that has gotten better than in recent years. The link is a Google Doc and is pretty easy to fill out as we just ask for the basics and once complete, we can make sure that the day will be ready for the school’s arrival,” said Book.
“Surprisingly, almost all days are filled for our first two enrichments. For the Walking with Dinosaurs exhibit, we still have a few days left for schools to register. Some state requirement testing and unexpected weather has hampered the winter / spring exhibit,” as Book explains.
“State testing has been a big subject here in recent years and with the Smarter Balanced tests happening in February and March, certain classes are unable to attend field trips. Those in third grade and higher take the biggest hit because it is those classes that are being tested. We will still have days for kids in pre-school through second, and I am sure those days will fill up once approval of bus travel is given to the teachers.”
“And, as in the past, we will have family days for those who wish to come and see what type of programs we offer during the enrichment dates. These days, along as the weather is good, are a great and free activity for family members wanting to do a family activity, without taking a hit in the wallet.”
“Family days this year will be something special for those who come and participate,” said Book. Catapult launches highlight our Medieval Times program and our Appalachia theme Passports programs really captures what life was like during that period. And, of course our dinosaur exhibit is the home run of the bunch. All-in-all, it is a great grouping of activities for the family and our days are always free to the public.”