Students, future teachers part of Summer Learning Institute

From AAPSNews Service

An intensive, summer school program is under way in Ann Arbor, packing lots of learning into just four short weeks.

The Elementary Summer Learning Institute serves children entering first and third grades and includes some 30 University of Michigan education students who assist classroom professionals as they learn about teaching.

Students at the Elementary Summer Learning Institute get help with both reading and math. Students entering the first and third grades this fall were eligible to attend.

This year, nearly 300 students are enrolled in the SLI as recommended by their teachers, said SLI Principal Matt Hilton. The program serves students from around the district and is located at Ann Arbor Open @ Mack.

“They quickly build community and really quickly get into high quality learning,” Hilton said of the teaching staff and U-M interns. “It’s fun to watch them make things happen.”

Hilton said the summer program keeps students abreast of math and Language Arts skills so there is no loss of learning over the summer.

“We prevent a lot of that so they can hit the ground running in the fall,” said Hilton, who during the regular school year is a reading specialist at Mitchell Elementary. This is his first year as principal for the SLI, but he has taught in the program in years past. “There’s an intensity of trying to maximize every minute we have with the kids, so we make the for the most growth possible.”

The SLI class sizes are smaller than traditional school year classes – typically averaging about 15 students, which allows teachers to offer more one-on-one assistance. “They experience success,” Hilton said of the students. “That sense of self really comes out. They go back to their home school with the sense of ‘I can do it.’”

Students get one-on-one assistance from both teachers and education students from the University of Michigan.

In addition to traditional classroom settings, the program also uses System 44 and Read 180, computer-based accelerated learning programs that have been used successfully in the district during the regular school year. Younger students also participate in a Music and Motion program that ties into the summer curriculum.

Parents are brought into the SLI process each Friday during July with workshops teaching them ways to improve reading, writing and math at home.

Hilton said the U-M interns bring an interesting mix to the school. Some are traditional college-age students, but a number of others are older students who have gone back to school and are changing careers.

The Elementary Summer Learning Institute is one of several summer learning programs taking place in the Ann Arbor this summer.

Other programs under way, or already completed, include: Middle and high school summer schools at Skyline; an extended school year program for special education students; a collaboration with the Leslie Science Center for beginning English language learners in elementary school; and other federally funded programs at Northside and Thurston elementaries and Scarlett Middle School as well as cluster programs for students for Allen, Carpenter, Pittsfield and Mitchell hosted at Scarlett an a west-side program at Haisley Elementary during July for students entering second, fourth and fifth grades.

There also are online and blended course opportunities for high schoolers that desire enrichment, advancement in math or to Community Resource classes that can be individually designed by students and advisers.  Similar opportunities are also available through the school year as part of the district’s Options Program. Details: Susette Jaquette at 734-994-2026.

A 10-week program for adults wishing to earn a GED is also under way at Stone High School during the summer.  For details about GED opportunities, both during the day and evenings, call 734-994-2200.

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