Summer is a great time to learn and have fun

July 13, 2017
Volunteer helps girl create e-novel

For three weeks this summer, a group of students are exploring oceans, planning road trips around the world, writing novels, and meeting new friends all without leaving the St. Croix Valley.

Nearly 240 students are taking part in Summer Success, which kicked off on July 10 and will run through July 27. Summer Success is a highly interactive summer learning program for students entering first through seventh grade. It’s designed to give students the opportunity to catch up to classmates and better prepare them for the coming year.

“We have a lot of fun,” said Eric Anderson, the Summer Success administrator. “This isn’t a traditional summer school. Students are highly engaged in learning through relevant, action-based lessons.”

Because summer school receives federal dollars to operate, teachers are able to work with fewer students and have more personalized connections. Four Reading and Math Corp teachers provide additional support, as well as eleven student helpers who have been hired to give extra attention to the younger kids.

“I wanted to do something different this summer,” said Alejandra Rivera, an eighth grader who is helping out in a first grade classroom. “It’s important for the kids to have someone to look up to and to help them practice. They’re more able to relate to me than a teacher.”

Providing role models to the students is just one of the ways Summer Success works to make summer school fun and engaging. Lessons are very hands-on and active. The youngest students might be asked to create the shape of a letter using a jump rope, while older students collaborate to complete a task. Technology is infused into the learning as students create e-books and research topics of interest.

“They’re not just doing math worksheets,” said Revalon Wesson, one of four Math Corp Tutors working with sixth and seventh graders. “We can do more projects that are relevant to kids.It’s more geared toward what they want to learn and providing real-life applications.”

The students Wesson works with are planning road trips as part of their lessons. They’ve selected a place anywhere in the world they’d like to visit and have researched the location online. They’re using math skills to do things like budget for plane tickets and expenses, as well as to convert between the metric and standard system to determine the cost of gas.

Summer Success is part of the district’s Targeted Services program, which supports students who learn in a different way or at a different pace than their peers. Targeted Services provides additional time during the summer, as well as before or after school during the school year, for students to learn in new and fun ways, and in smaller learning environments.