Students who attend Lincoln County Schools have been out of school since before Christmas. That’s a long time, for some, to be away from the books. Some of the schools, like North Brook Elementary School, held intersession programs to keep learning fresh and on the minds of their students.
This is the first year that Lincoln County Schools has been operating under a modified year-round calendar. Students started school on Aug. 12, 2019, two weeks earlier than normal. They finished with first semester exams in December, prior to Christmas break. This was intended to provide opportunities for high school students to attend classes at a local community college during the following semester. It also enabled them to take the exams while the material was still fresh in their minds. Christmas break was extended with students out of school from Dec. 23 through Jan. 13.
For the North Brook intersession program, principal Jennifer Carroll focused on grades third through fifth and sent out approximately 60 letters inviting them in. It took place over two days this week, beginning at 7:45 a.m. and ending at noon. Students received a light breakfast and a snack while they were there.
“We provided a light breakfast and some small group math and reading instruction and then tried to provide some type of STEM activity,” she said. “Yesterday we made blue snow and lava lamps. We also had a pirate storyteller.”
On Wednesday, staff from the Lincoln County Public Library came to the school to provide STEM activities.
Of the 60 students who were invited, approximately 10 declined due to other plans, but only 30 students attended each day.
“In a perfect world, we would have liked to invite all of the students,” Carroll said. “We tried to get as many as we could. If I would have known the 20 weren’t going to show up, I could have invited 20 in their place. We’re using Title I funds. The students really seemed to enjoy it so I’m hoping next year we could invite more. I know Battleground got a grant so they could provide a bus and had lunch. That’s another drawback, we couldn’t provide transportation or lunch.”
Carroll said that she wanted to offer the program on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but didn’t have the funding available to pay for the staff and supplies. She hopes next year to apply for grants or put aside more Title I money to offer an extended program and include more students.
“I think having the fun STEM activities may relieve some of the anxiety about coming back to school after such a long break,” she said. “Entice them with some fun and some learning and maybe it’ll be an easier transition for them.”