“You’d like to have them for 40 days, but we definitely work them hard for the 20 days,” he said. “If they come away with five to 10 skills more, even one skill, it helps.”
Samantha Joltin, who is teaching soon-to-be fifth-graders, said her goal is to be able to have students complete one or two lengthy writing assignments by the end of the summer. Drew Jakubowski, working with the district’s oldest students, is reviewing more in-depth reading and math skills. He also has them playing learning games on the computer. “You have to make it fun for them,” he said, “because it is the summer.”
This year, every class has a weekly visit to the computer lab where students play interactive learning games that focus on reading and math skills, and watch educational videos.
“It’s just another way of teaching,” said technology teacher Jean Oestreich. “It’s another tool that we use to help the students reach their greatest potential.”
This summer, the district is piloting a program called Think Through Math, which is designed to help students meet the new rigorous requirements of the Common Core Learning Standards.
Every child gets a report card at the end of the four weeks, and students and parents are asked to evaluate the program. Friel said feedback is usually positive. “Almost every parent has been extremely happy about the progress their child has made,” he said.
Supporting the teachers are a dozen aides as well as numerous volunteers, who are mostly local high school students looking for community service credit. There are 210 students enrolled in the program, which runs through Friday.