Bryant Public Schools is taking a different approach to summer learning.
Research shows students often experience some level of learning loss during the summer months known as “summer slide.” Students who are not making adequate academic gains tend to fall further behind. In order to help these students before the beginning of another school year, the district developed new intervention strategies.
“We began by looking at summer school differently. We were challenged to help students who are behind their peers. The Summer Learning Camp was created to close this achievement gap, prevent regression during the summer, and provide enriching activities for students,” said Pam Kenney, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary.
“We knew it had to be fun, so we named it Hornet Summer Camp. Fired Up! for Learning is the camp’s theme. We’ve decorated Hill Farm Elementary with tents, camp fires, and sleeping bags, all the items you would find at a real summer camp,” Kenney added.
Teachers have incorporated the theme in their classrooms and lessons. The learning experience uses small group instruction to focus on building phonetics, reading and math skills. Activities such as archery, coding, music and STEM lessons provide enrichment.
Teachers and administrators worked to identify students who would most benefit from summer instruction. Almost 250 students were invited to attend. Knowing transportation could be a hurdle for some parents, the district offered buses to and from students’ home schools. Students are also provided breakfast and lunch through the Summer Food Program.
The sixteen-day camp runs from 8am to 1pm, with an equal amount of time for literacy/phonics, math and activities. Students also work on social emotional skills such as kindness, friendship and responsibility.
Community partners have made a huge impact in the program. The Saline County Library provides books and reading buddies and will donate books for students to take home at the end of camp; HSU is offering STEM programming.
Camp sponsors include Baldwin Shell Construction and Lewis Architects. Summit Church is providing inflatables and volunteers to help with Field Day on last day of camp.
“We have all worked hard to make Summer Learning Camp special for our students. I am very thankful for those in our district and community who have supported this initiative,” said Kenney.