Free AES summer program offers opportunities for acceleration

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 19, 2014

Students currently enrolled in Andalusia Elementary School have an opportunity to participate in a free summer program that will help them get ahead for next year, offer them arts and cultural opportunities, and feed them a free breakfast and lunch. The school system will even provide transportation.

Brook Blair explained that the Summer Acceleration Program will give students an opportunity to participate in three sessions each week. They will rotate through stations that will include time in the library so that they can access Accelerated Reader books and take AR tests; time in the Compass computer lab, which provides learn-at-your-own-pace instruction; and the third component will be a personal enrichment class.

“Compass learning works at each individual child’s level,” Blair said. “They can explore things they’re not able to do in the school year.”

During the computer lab time, Blair said, teachers will also work with students.

“When there is an area in which we know the student needs to progress – like reading comprehension, we will be able to pull a small groups of kids to work on those skills.”

Blair is looking for volunteers to help with the enrichment classes. For instance, Katie Howell has committed to do a gymnastics session. But she’d also like to offer yoga, dance, karate, art, or sign language.

A counselor also will be on staff, she said, to follow up with students who might be experiencing issues like divorce.

“We also will provide breakfast, lunch, and transportation,” Blair said.

All of the program will be free, she said, because AES is a Title I school.

“It’s open to any kid currently enrolled at Andalusia Elementary School,” she said. “We will send application forms home on Wednesday, and parents have until May 9 to return them.”

Three parenting classes also are planned, she said, adding that they will be open to the parents or grandparents of any Andalusia City Schools student. Topics to be addressed include computer skills for accessing grades or applying for jobs online; the new math; and helping students with reading.

Students currently in grades K-2nd will participate in sessions from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, June 10, 17, and 24, and July 8, 15, and 22.

Students currently in grades 3rd – 5th will participate in sessions from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Thursdays June 12, 19, and 26, and July 10, 17 and 24.

“Every student could benefit from this,” Blair said. “This is not a remediation, but an acceleration. We want to help them retain what they’ve learned, and if they’ve struggled, to give them a little extra boost.”

“I might discover I love acting or I like to sing,” she said.

“We can’t do this without our community supporting us, and we always have plenty of that support,” she said. “Any input the community has in how we could shape this would be welcomed.”

Any adults who participate will be required to complete forms for a background check, she said.

“This is not your ordinary summer school,” she said. “This is more of a ‘Hey! we’re lucky to have Title I funding,’ thing. We’re able to offer some things we would not otherwise be able to do.”

For information, contact Blair at the central office, 222-3186.