Students Stay Sharp at Summer School

Posted on July 24, 2013

Dozens of elementary school-age children in the Glen Haven and Ashton Woods communities are getting a head start on learning this summer through a special program at Ronald E. McNair Elementary School. The three-week summer program aims to combat summer learning loss, a phenomenon in which children’s memories of concepts learned in the previous school year deteriorate over the course of the summer. According to Program Services Assistant Manager Lizzie Biddle, about 65 children are currently enrolled in the program.

Summer classes at McNair are taught by the school’s regular education and ESOL staff. AmeriCorps staff and university volunteers help provide support to the teachers. Jonathan Agaton, an AmeriCorps ACCESS member at the Glen Haven Community Center, helps facilitate the program. According to Jonathan, the students are focusing on sharpening their skills in math, reading, and science.

“For the reading part, they’ve been enjoying a program called Lexia that the school has,” Jonathan said. “They all log in and they all have their appropriate levels that they’ve been assigned. Once they complete every level, they get a certificate or something, which just encourages the student to keep on reading.”

In addition, instructors are teaching students tips and tricks to help them master basic math concepts such as their times tables. The students learn techniques for faster computation and play math games with flash cards to make learning fun. The children are also receiving science lessons, ignoring the summer heat in favor of lessons on snow.

The students’ parents get educational opportunities, too.

“The second and third weeks, there’s an adult  educational component in which the parents of the students are invited to come see the school and take an English class and take a computer class, using some of the cool technology the students are using, including the iPads,” Lizzie said.

The program starts at 9:00 a.m., with each student receiving a healthy breakfast at the school. The meal gives students the nutrition they need to get the most out of learning. A day filled with educational experiences follows, with a break for lunch at 11:30. Students also get a weekly treat in the form of a field trip to an educational site in the area.  The first week, students visited the Greensboro Science Center and became acquainted with a host of aquatic creatures at the center’s new SciQuarium, while this week brings a trip to ArtQuest for the younger children and a train trip to Charlotte for the older students.

According to Lizzie, the program was made possible through the efforts of Mayra Hayes, Guilford County Schools Director of English as a Second Language, and the state refugee office in the Department of Health and Human service.

“We are thankful to Mayra and the McNair teachers who made this program possible,” Lizzie said.

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