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Beyond the classroom

BARRINGTON – For the past decade, Roslyn Road Elementary has been offering an alternative to the to the regular school bell – an extra hour of fun electives.

This year’s courses are anything but ordinary.
The MiniCourse program provides an opportunity for students to stay after school and learn anything from yoga to pie-making – or model rocketry.

All-volunteer-run, students are allowed to register for one class each day – Monday, Tuesday and/or Thursday – at $20 for four weeks.
MiniCourse Committee member Ingrid Bjors O’Brien said registration costs are just enough to cover course materials and space is first come, first serve, with the model rocketry course filling up most quickly.
More than 400 students attend Roslyn Road Elementary during the day, O’Brien said, with about half of those students electing to stay at least once a week for the MiniCourses.

The program is part of the school’s parent-teacher organization. Staff members range from teachers to school administrators; older students and business professionals.
In session Feb. 24 was a 25-person model rocketry course taught by Roslyn Road gym teacher Andy Nettis.

The course is 15 minutes longer than other MiniCourses, O’Brien said, because it is a bit more complicated.
During the last week of class, students will launch their rockets outside, in front of an audience.

“They launch so high you can barely see them,” O’Brien said.

Third grader Andrew Maier said he signed up for model rocketry because his dad is an engineer and he enjoys building things, too.

Maier said he anticipates his model rocket to launch at least 500 feet into the sky.
Being instructed by a Roslyn Road volunteer mother in the school’s kitchen was an Easy as Pie class, where nine girls were pressing key lime pie crust into baking pans.
In this course, students learn the art of pie-making with simple recipes and take each dessert home to enjoy with friends and family members.

Fifth grader Samantha Skurnick said she shared her banana pudding pie, from an earlier course, with her parents and sister.

Targeting a younger crowd was a beginner rainbow looming class for students to learn how to loom with colored rubber bands.

In another class, Prairie Middle School student Emma Broker taught second-graders how to create stretchy jewelry with small hooks.
Broker was a fifth-grade student at Roslyn Road last year, and said she enjoys being able to come back and teach the children she had previously seen passing in the halls.

Coincidentally, Broker was enrolled in MiniCourses for a number of years herself.
“I loved the cooking, scrapbooking and baking classes,” Broker said. “I still bake cupcakes at home with a recipe I learned here.”

Roslyn Road parent volunteer, Mike Davis taught a guitar-making class with cigar boxes to a handful of students, including his son, Zane Davis.

Mike Davis has been teaching the same MiniCourse for the past four years, he said.

Tuesday and Thursday courses include Tae Kwon Do, knitting, sports, musical theatre, and more – even a “Make the Most of your Money” course.
Any student enrolled in District 220’s “KEEP” or Free and Reduced-Lunch programs may attend one MiniCourse each week for free. A bus ride is provided to those students.

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