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Summer Programs Serve Thousands of Students

When the school year ends across St. Tammany Parish, a whole new world of possibilities opens for many students.  A growing number of students are taking advantage of the many interesting and educational summer programs offered by the School System, whether for catching up with school work, getting ahead in certain subject areas, or just plain having fun.

Technology Supervisor Julie Matte reported to the School Board at its August 19 meeting about this past summer’s programs and participation, saying the large variety of summer program learning opportunities, both traditional and “not so traditional,” had been enjoyed by the very young to the “not so young.”

The traditional programs include regular summer school sessions, one for elementary and middle grade students and another for high school students. This program has two purposes, she said. Students may remove deficiencies in subject areas they have had trouble passing, and students may become stronger in a subject area where a need has been recognized.

In addition to the traditional programs, internet based instruction is offered through virtual online summer school, with two sessions during the summer. Quite a few courses are available through this service, Mrs. Matte said, including four levels of English, Algebra, Geometry, Financial Math, World Geography, Civics, Free Enterprise, History, Physical Science, French, Spanish, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Communications.

One hundred and eighty seven students took part in elementary summer school, and a total of 981 students took advantage of secondary summer school, both regular and virtual versions.

The LEAP Summer Remediation Program (LSR) offers students help in passing the fourth and eighth grade LEAP tests.  Mrs. Matte said four school sites provided LSR instruction and LEAP re-testing. There’s a four-week LSR and a two-week LSR, with lessons tailored to meet the students’ needs.

High school students needing help to pass the Graduate Exit Exam (GEE) could also attend sessions at two sites, Lakeshore High and Northshore High. This past summer 350 students took part in that program.

The  “Fast ForWord” program is a series of computer based brain exercises that help students improve academic achievement. The summer program at Florida Avenue Elementary and Pine View Middle School served 101 students from 35 schools. Students were recommended for the program by speech therapists or their teachers.

Also active during the summer is the Extended School Year Program, where students gain valuable additional instructional time. School sites participating this summer included Covington Elementary, Covington Pathways, Creekside Junior High, Little Pearl Elementary, Northshore High School, and Pine View Middle School. The program helps students maintain skills learned in the previous school year.

Now in its first year, the KIT Summer Camp session provided enrichment activities for 80 “kids in transition.” At the two KIT sites at Mandeville Middle School and Clearwood Junior High, the students learned math and reading skills, Home Economics, Physical Education, and the arts. The teachers found that students young and old enjoyed the experience, with the older students helping the younger ones through the program, Mrs. Matte noted.

Another 536 students took part in the Title I June summer program, which was designed to provide extended school year learning opportunities and instruction in math and reading. Technology was incorporated into many aspects of the program, as were cultural arts performances. That program took place at six schools: Abita Springs Middle School, Alton Elementary, Brock Elementary, Carolyn Park Middle School, Fifth Ward Junior High, and Riverside Elementary.

The Title I “STARS” program helped to provide at-risk students an early three-week start to the 2010-2011 school year.  The extra instruction in math and reading helped the 505 students at nine schools get off to a good start this August, with emphasis on computer learning opportunities in math, reading, and other subjects. The experience was enriched through art lessons and physical education sessions.

Each summer, all eight high school band directors conduct band camps for younger students from feeder schools who will eventually attend that particular high school, as well as for high school students who are preparing for marching band activities.

Several schools also held fine arts camps this summer, Mrs. Matte reported. The camp at Woodlake Elementary School, for instance, emphasized instruction in music, dance, theater, and art.

Activities continued this past summer at the four 21st Century Community Learning Centers in Covington, Pearl River, Lacombe, and Slidell. The popular summer program served 650 kindergarten through sixth grade students throughout its six-week program. Mornings were spent with an artist from Young Audiences working alongside a certified teacher to deliver the Arts4Learning Curriculum. The focus was on literacy skills through the art disciplines of theater, music, dance, and the visual arts. Participants also enjoyed a variety of enhancement activities ranging from cooking and jewelry making to scrapbooking and cartooning. Field trips expanded the program, and the weekly “water day” proved popular, especially the water slides and snow balls.

Older students at the 21st Century Community Learning Centers learned community service skills as part of the “Junior Corps.”  The students performed a variety of community service projects,  learned CPR and first aid, adopted a neighborhood park and performed school facility improvement projects.

Mrs. Matte emphasized that summer programs were available to students across the parish, as School officials sought to provide equitable learning opportunities to all. Several of the programs provide transportation to and from the sites, she noted. “Members of our team work together to converge resources to ensure the success of all the students and all the programs,” she concluded.

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St. Tammany Parish Public School System
321 N. Theard Street, Covington, LA 70434-0940
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