There are tons of great charter schools in New York and Connecticut going above and beyond for their students. This means staving off the summer slide, either with an extended year or a robust program to keep their students engaged in these summer months. See how Brass City Charter School in Waterbury, CT is bridging the summer gap for its students.
For four weeks in the summer, Brass City Charter School students in Waterbury, Connecticut go back to school. The free summer program is open to all students and while the emphasis is on learning, there is fun outside of the classroom, too.
Executive Director Barbara Ruggiero said, “We did it to address the summer slide issue. We keep our kids in their same classes with teachers who are our regular school year teachers. There is great continuity in that. The summer program is a chance to solidify skills for kids who need some extra time in class.”
The “summer slide” is the tendency for students to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year. Summer programs like Brass City’s help bridge those gaps.
Now in its third summer, the half-day summer program program focuses on reading and math skills, but each week there is a field trip for student enrichment. One week the kids visited a local museum. Another week, the children went blueberry picking.
“We like to get the kids out in nature and seeing something different than an urban setting. After blueberry picking, our pre-K kids make muffins. It was really cute.”
Ruggiero continued, “This program really keeps the kids engaged. Anecdotally, we know that a lot of kids miss out on reading during the summer months so we believe this four-week program is critical to getting them to spend time with books, which leads to higher order questioning and better literacy skills. When they’re here with us, they are read to every day or are discussing literature.”
The summer program couldn’t be done without dedicated teachers.
“We are really fortunate to have our teachers. Since the school year teachers also teach the summer classes, it’s great because there is no real transition for the kids. We keep them together in their class with a teacher they know,” Ruggiero said.
Ruggiero also told us most families are really appreciative of the chance to send their kids to school over the summer and welcome the extra learning time.
And it’s not just parents. Kids seem to love it, too.
“Our charter school is small and our kids have a real sense of community and caring. Many of them are sad when they go on summer vacation so they look forward to coming back.
“Kids want to be here.”