NewsLocal News


Summer school in session in Grain Valley; students select topics they’re interested in

Summer school in session in Grain Valley, students select topics they’re interested in
Posted at 6:58 AM, Jun 05, 2024

KSHB 41 reporter Claire Bradshaw covers portions of eastern Jackson County, including areas like Blue Springs and Independence. If you have a story idea to share, send an email to Claire at

Summer school is in session across the Kansas City metropolitan area. In Grain Valley, students have a say in what they want to learn this month.

At Prairie Branch Elementary, teachers select a theme for their classroom to focus on collaboration and engagement. Some of the class themes are camping, underwater adventures, Legos, food trucks and adopt-a-pet.

Lessons are created around the theme, incorporating core curriculum along with activities. Students then get a preference as to which class they want to be in for the month.

Librarian Lauren Bennaka said summer school allows for more time to do activities, like working with the robots in her STEM lessons. On top of that, classroom sizes are smaller.

“I just feel like it's a lot less stressful of a scenario for them," Bennaka said. "And so some of them are just kind of showing us their personalities and what they enjoy. You don't really always get to see that during the school year."

Two rising fifth graders spoke with KSHB 41 News about why they like to return to summer school each year and what they would tell their friends about their experience.

“I would tell them that it’s fun. Learn and you're having fun, but you're still doing something, you're still ... learning," said Anabell Ross.

She said it's fun "because you're just doing a lot of activities and socializing," which Isla Dierking agreed with.

“You're gonna do fun activities. Like … meet new people from other schools and some other teachers get to meet you," Isla said. "You get to see new animals and do a lot more fun activities."

Grain Valley School District’s Summer SOAR program runs from June 1-28.

Enrollment, which is slightly up compared to last year, is full and closed for the summer, according to a director.