Our board members spent their summer visiting Foundation grant recipients and seeing their grants in action. From a day-long workout session to prepare high school students for AP courses to having the chance to check out books (during the summer!) from the school library at Hall-Kent Elementary, these innovative programs reached students at all five schools in many unique ways. Here are just a few of the grants that we saw in action:
Students enrolled in their first AP course in the fall had a unique opportunity to ‘train’ for this experience thanks to the creative instructors at Homewood High School. On June 18, students arrived to learn about stress management, improving study habits and more. Taking an Advanced Placement course in high school can be difficult, and the teachers and administrators at the high school want to do what they can to make it a positive experience. The grant was proposed by Latta Johnston, Mindy McBride, Christine Morman, Michelle Cooley, Alison Hill and Nivada Spurlock.
Forty rising sixth-graders participated in a summer camp in July to help prepare them for math team. Amy Hacker, Jordan Sterley and Mary McLeod at Homewood Middle School led the camp, introducing the students to higher-level math concepts that are essential for math team success. On the last day of camp, students got to participate in a mock math team tournament, using the skills that they had learned. Parents were invited to watch. It was a great way for students to experience what math team is like before the school year begins.
Summer reading plays a key role in student achievement. To ensure that students are able to keep reading during the summer, Hall-Kent Elementary created a program where students could come to the school library several times during the summer to check out books. Students were encouraged to keep a journal about what they were reading and shared their entries with faculty when they visited the library. Parents and students loved visiting the library and having access to new reading material all summer long! This grant was submitted by Abbie Freeman, Kiana Coleman, Emily Strickland, Dominique Prince, Abby Becker, Barbara Jane Ellenburg, Vickie McCarthy and Maggie Serota.
According to the new College and Career Readiness Standards, students must be able to read, talk and write about complex texts. Studies have shown that students, in general, are not prepared for college-level reading. So, Reading Specialists Ellen Helf (SCE), Angela Gerontakis (EE) and Dominique Prince (HKE) spent time this summer identifying text and creating lessons that teachers can use in their classroom to support students at every grade level. This will help students acquire skills that they can use as they move through the upper grades. This fall, teachers have been implementing these lessons in the classroom and are already seeing results.