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GRASP Program Helping Students Retain Info During Summer

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Now that we are into the month of June, schools are starting to close for the summer.

Tuesday is the last day of class in Minneapolis, and St. Paul schools get out on Friday.

While it’s great that the kids get a break from class, there is a down side. Educators call it “summer learning loss.”

Some school districts are now working to combat that. St. Paul and Richfield are trying to help kids remember what they’ve learned.

“It would be just like if you read a book and two or three months later were asked to remember what you read, you probably could not,” said Shaun Walsh, a youth coordinator with St. Paul Public Schools.

Two summers ago, St. Paul Public Schools started experimenting with something called GRASP, which was developed in Michigan.

Parents order workbooks that have weekly assignments in math and reading based on their child’s grade level.

The math includes a variety of problems, from geometry and fractions to word problems. The reading assignments cover comprehension as well as grammar and spelling.

And here’s the cool part.

After students complete the work, they mail it to back the school district where staff members check their answers, and send back comments.

“Right now we hand grade it,” Walsh said. “And [the teachers] write nice notes to the kids, and they get used to that handwriting.”

Parents we talked to admitted they need some help when it comes to keeping their kids at their reading and math levels.

Joseph Moore lives in St. Paul and has nine kids.

“I think it’s a great idea, as long as I don’t have to check it,” Moore said. “I think it will keep the kids focused during the summer. And then in the fall they should be right where they should be.”

How much of a time commitment is it?

It should take about half-an-hour to complete the work for either reading or math, but you can divide that up into 10 minutes a day, three days a week, if you want.

The students get those corrected answer sheets back in about two days.

And because it’s mailed back and forth, you can take these assignments with you on vacation.

The cost is $31 for one subject, either reading or math, and $49 if you decide to do both.

It’s available to kids in all school districts, from kindergarten to 8th grade. For more information, click here.

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