MEDFORD, Ore. — Most kids in Oregon are still finishing up their summer break, but the same can't be said for hundreds of children enrolled in Kids Unlimited Academy public charter schools. Between the school's Medford and White City locations, almost 600 kids from 1st to 8th grade returned to school on Wednesday.
Kids Unlimited Academy recently adopted an all-year calendar model — the first of its kind for Oregon public schools, according to administrators. The model is supposed to help shrink the achievement gap associated with "the summer slide" and compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s the responsible model for students, especially those who have traditionally struggled with barriers of learning. The model was designed to increase instructional days but also elevate services designed to address socio-emotional needs,” said Tom Cole, CEO of Kids Unlimited of Oregon.
Kids are back to normal in-person classes at the Kids Unlimited Academy, though school guidance requires masks for faculty and students.
“The opening of school is exciting because it represents a return to normalcy within the school structure,” said Sunshine Price, Director of Academics. “It’s been wonderful to see students learning in classrooms, gathered in groups and for the first time since Covid, using the cafeteria and commons area.”
The Kids Unlimited public charter school first opened in 2013. The student body is more than 85 percent Latinx children, and almost 56 percent of student households do not speak English as their primary language. Both locations are designated Title 1, with the majority of students living below the federal poverty level.
Kids Unlimited said that there will be a "welcome back to school day" provided by Lithia Motor on Friday, with plans for a fun day of activities and new backpacks and school supplies for all of the students.