Although summer is a few months away, I am already asking our families in Atlanta Public Schools to get ready to “Power Up!” for summer learning. Why am I excited about this so early? It’s because I worry about the time we don’t have our kids in school almost as much as the time we actually have them in our classrooms.
With summer as the longest break, that’s when I worry most. Knowledge retention over the long summer break has always been a concern for educators. For example, it is estimated that “summer slide” accounts for as much as 85% of the reading achievement gap between lower-income students and their middle- and upper-income peers. And, all students show a slide in skills and knowledge after a long summer break.
While I am pleased that APS has long offered summer school options, our summer school model of years past primarily focused on remediation for students needing additional supports. That means that if students weren’t going to school during the summer to receive academic intervention, then there were not many places for them to go within the district to further their education.
Working with our partners, APS launched Power Up last summer. This program reimagines the traditional summer school model and moves toward more dynamic and engaging opportunities for all our students. Power Up, which will run throughout the month of June, offers a comprehensive portfolio of summer enrichment programs available at more than 40 schools and sites across the city.
Some of these engaging hands-on programs include:
- The Adventures of STEAM Island at Hutchinson and Humphries elementary schools, which will incorporate science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The summer experience will include field trips, as well as in-school fun with the Science Guy, STEAM Truck and Game Truck.
- The Rock and Roll Reading Program, which is an interactive way for students to engage in musical based enrichment activities in the afternoon and various hands-on reading activities.
- The ULTIMATE S.T.E.A.M. Experience, which provides children with creative activities and lessons from culinary arts to drama to physical arts and so much more.
- The Girl POWER STEMinists Camp, which allows young ladies in grades 6 to 9 to develop their inner STEMinist through hands-on inquiry based learning focused on the engineering-design cycle.
- iEngineer, which is a free summer program for incoming 7th and 8th grade students to support student learning about the engineering process. Students will generate an engineering structure that will attempt to solve a world problem or develop a new, innovative process.
These innovative and interactive programs will transform the way students think and learn, inspire confidence, and empower participants with the tools to be college and career ready. Whether it’s science, cooking, technology, sports and physical activities, music, art, games or drama, Power Up is sure to have a session for every child to explore.
For APS students, participation for most programs is free! Breakfast, lunch and transportation are included.
Registration is now available for our Summer Power Up program. For complete details about Power Up, visit the APS website at www.atlantapublicschools.us/powerup. It’s important that you register, but it’s equally important that everyone who registers shows up on the first day of their Power Up program!
Whether our students continue their summer studies with Power Up or another program, I hope that every APS student will find ways to expand his or her learning and imagination over the summer break and ensure that they are ready and eager for Day One of the 2019-2020 school year.