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Dayton Daily News: Summer enrichment program yields exciting results

Posted Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014

The 2014-15 school year is off to a great start. Many great things are ahead for our schools this year - just recently, we received the results from our BELL Summer Enrichment program and the results are fantastic!

Close to 250 students in the Mad River School District attended the nationally celebrated summer learning program, thanks to a partnership funded by Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio and the Iddings Foundation. The free, full-day, five-week program targeted summer learning to students who otherwise would not be involved in summer enrichment opportunities. Students received classroom instruction and participated in field trips and activities designed to keep them learning during the critical summer months.

Research has shown that a lack of learning experiences and opportunities during summer months causes learning to stall and even be lost. Students typically lose two to three months of learning each summer - for higher-risk children, the loss is greater. Many kids already have enriching experiences all summer long - at camps, family vacations, and trips to libraries, museums and parks. But those activities take time and money - two resources that many students simply do not have. So every summer, some students keep growing and learning, while others fall further and further behind.

Each morning, scholars rotated through a series of reading and math stations, including small-group instruction, independent and collaborative reading, literacy-building games, and a blended learning station with interactive reading technologies. Students participated in enrichment courses like karate, dancing with DCDC, and classes with the Victoria Theatre. STEM and the arts helped integrate literacy-building activities and provide opportunities for scholars to apply their reading skills. Fridays were filled with field trips to the Cincinnati Zoo, COSI and the Ohio Caverns.

According to data from BELL, students who attended the Summer Program in Mad River gained average grade-equivalent reading growth by 3.2 months and 1.3 months of math growth in just five weeks! Students who would otherwise be held back for not passing their Third Grade Reading Test were given an opportunity to grow their literacy skills and be retested. Eight scholars were able to increase their scores so that they could move on to fourth grade. We are confident that they now have the tools to keep them aligned with their peers and support their current and future learning opportunities.

Summer Enrichment programs give schools like Mad River the chance to teach in ways that are interesting and enjoyable to students - which in turn enhances student self-confidence, persistence in their academic pursuits, and willingness to try new things.

In the months ahead we will be planning for our second Summer Enrichment Program we look forward to seeing our next round of "Summer Scholars."