With the new balanced calendar adopted by the Board of Education, the D51F partnered with District Middle Schools to create an Extended Learning Opportunity over Spring Break. The focus was on Math, but because we created such a fun environment for kids by offering cool electives, we called it "Spring Break Camp".
The Camp ran for the first of the two week Spring Break, and gave over 250 students extra time in small class sizes to get caught up on math skills. Specially trained teachers worked with the students to fill their specific math knowledge gaps through the use of computers, games, life lessons, and hands on instruction. The students were grouped with math-capable peers, so the instruction for the group was targeted. Through this grouping, we were able to create an atmosphere that engaged each child, provided the individual instruction needed, and each child had the opportunity to fully participate.
Some of what we heard from the students were: "I wasn't afraid to raise my hand, because even if I had the wrong answer, I wasn't embarassed." The camp created confidence and reduced social barriers to participation! "I learned new things, and then I could help the other kids in my class, and the next day they could help me." This camp gave students, who may not normally be a leader, the chance to help another student!
Along with three math classes a day, the students were engrossed in elective classes taught by community volunteers. These volunteers were experts in their field, and were able to share their knowledge, passion, and career ideas with students. This unique opportunity to be matched with an adult from outside the school system created new mentor relationships, kept the kids interested in attending all week, and opened doors that aren't available during the regular school year. Over 20 volunteers came to camp, and taught an hour-long class. Our volunteers had a wonderful time! "This was an amazing experience. The kids gave me more than I think I gave them!"
Overall, that one week of camp provided nearly three weeks worth of intensive math coursework, and the skills gained will help these students get caught up and stay caught up. The students grew in Math, grew in personal leadership skills, and grew in new career ideas.
Spring Break Camp was a hit!!!!