Summer Enhancement Program
Kicking off this June, the Summer Learning Enhancement Program, in coordinated efforts with the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention and the Alabama Department of Human Resources, targeted local school systems and community partners. The program addressed recouping the potential learning loss students have suffered over recent months. In addition to grappling with the impact of the social and emotional needs of students and families, most school systems across the state must also mitigate the possible gaps in reading and literacy proficiency. The entire Alabama educational community is undertaking the directives of the Literacy Act and endeavoring to shift our state’s status in reading fluency. Thus, the Summer Enhancement Program focused on how to learn as much as what to learn, ensuring that each opportunity enhanced the power of play and experimentation in harnessing students’ full capacity to learn new skills. The wide collaboration enabled numerous locations in Alabama to provide a summer of discovery and fun for many at-risk children in Chambers, Coosa, Dallas, Hale, Sumter, Talladega, and Tuscaloosa counties. Partnerships with organizations like the Birmingham Virtual Institute allowed site facilitators to team up with STEM content experts to provide direct virtual STEM instructional lessons and experiential activities throughout the state. The process has provided students experiences otherwise not available to them, while concurrently equipping staff with sound methodologies of STEM learning and real-world applications. Through these opportunities, students participated in Project-Based Learning (PBL), math as it relates to the STEM disciplines, and Reading/Literacy as it relates to all aspects of learning and engagement. Students participated in engaging projects involving areas of STEM, arts, literacy, music, and a host of other enriching options. The program was designed to provide multiple resources while allowing for flexibility to each location and age group in order to provide students with learning opportunities that supported the schedule of parents/caregivers transitioning back to work. The Summer Enhancement Program also served to meet the social, emotional, and health needs of children by organizing group activities, often in outdoor settings that promoted exercise. The program accelerated the students’ advancement in overcoming gaps in reading and literacy proficiency while opening the door to a lifetime of learning through the STEM disciplines. To see a brief overview of Dallas County’s Summer Enhancement Program, click here.