In our series “Stories of Success” with the Tuscaloosa City Schools System, WVUA 23’s Jabaree Prewitt takes a closer look at the success of the summer enrichment program. With a core strategy for addressing achievement gaps, the summer enrichment program within the Tuscaloosa City Schools System has been a major success. The four-week summer program serves more than 1,000 students by offering 15 programs at 11 campuses across the system. Tuscaloosa City Schools’ Superintendent Mike Daria said it proves learning does not have to stop for students during the summer.Amy Tilford, who oversees the 21st Century Program, said the five programs focus on elementary school students and help provide opportunities to foster learning and mastery in core content standards.“The goal of the 21st Century Program is to provide enrichment intervention to inter-mastery of core content standards for all students involved in the program,” said Tilford. “The enrichment opportunities includes STEM, project-based learning, nutrition and a variety of other experiences including technology service learning components as well.”Both national research and results from the Tuscaloosa City Schools board show that high quality summer programs significantly reduce negative impacts of the long summer vacation, especially for academically vulnerable students. Ronika Amerson, the assistant principal at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, was the facilitator for the BELL Summer Program at University Place Elementary.“This was the first year for BELL,” said Amerson, “which stands for Building Educated Leaders for Life, and it was a program that’s enriched in math and reading but also enrichment. It also deals with the social and emotional learning; I think that was huge for our students in Tuscaloosa City Schools.”Amerson said several schools took components from the program back with them in the fall because of their success. She said there has already been a decrease in discipline and she had no discipline referrals this summer.Jamesia Armistead, a high school science teacher, taught in the summer program for the first time. She said that the programs are working and she would like to see even more of them.“For me because I’m a science teacher, (I want) more STEM-based enrichment classes available to them,” said Armistead. “And so I’ve talked to a lot of teachers who are in the science field as well and they’re interested in coming in, and we’re going to do some more STEM-based learning experiences for those students.”School officials said they are excited about the benefits the students will see from continued improvement and expansion throughout the future.
In our series Stories of Success with the Tuscal
Last Updated on: August 3rd, 2019 at 3:48 pm, by