East Detroit Schools focuses on learning during summertime

By: April Lehmbeck | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 7, 2013

 Krystal Maxwell, national board-certified teacher in early childhood development, helps students in the KinderKamp program at Crescentwood Elementary School in Eastpointe Aug. 1 learn the sounds that letters make. They are making dog ears to help remember that “D” is the sound for “dog.”

Krystal Maxwell, national board-certified teacher in early childhood development, helps students in the KinderKamp program at Crescentwood Elementary School in Eastpointe Aug. 1 learn the sounds that letters make. They are making dog ears to help remember that “D” is the sound for “dog.”

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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EASTPOINTE — While the lazy days of summer are a cherished American tradition, they have been known to lead to summer learning loss, so East Detroit Public Schools is battling back.

The district is working hard to ensure that learning is a part of the summer routine, making education a yearlong endeavor.

“At East Detroit Public Schools, we believe that engaging students all year round will lead to greater academic success,” Superintendent Joanne Lelekatch said in an email. “I am proud that we can offer programs throughout the summer for all ranges of our students’ academic needs.”

The district acknowledges the problem that schools across the country face when their children leave the traditional school year for the long summer break.

The classes that are currently underway range from a program for the youngest of the district’s students to an innovative math and science camp.

“We are excited to be able to offer many opportunities for our students during the summer months,” district Executive Director of Instructional Services Paul Szymanski said in an email. “We are currently running programs for students from pre-kindergarten to those who have just completed the eighth grade and will be entering the freshman academy at our Johns Hopkins (Talent Development) high school in the fall.”

The district is a site for Macomb Intermediate School District programs like Kinder-Kamp, which helps incoming kindergarten students get ready for the fall.

Students are participating in a Title I Summer Success program and Extended Year programs.

And students were provided opportunities to participate in enrichment programs like a language art camp and math and science camp.

“These camps allow our students enrichment opportunities with engaging activities that keep up their love for learning when school is not in session,” Szymanski said.

It’s not just for students who have decided to take part in the extra summer learning opportunities; the district is engaging all students this summer.

“Our students at home are participating in summer reading programs to decrease summer learning loss, and our on-site programs offer additional support to those students who most benefit from the extended-year learning experience, and helps to narrow the overall achievement gap,” Szymanski said.

This year’s summer programs have been a big success, according to district officials.

“The feedback to our summer learning opportunities has been consistently positive,” East Detroit literary coach Linda Clinton stated in a press release. “We have solid research base with excellent results, but we never stop looking for improvement. Our goal is to truly listen and respond to the families we’re serving.

“For example, we lengthened our Title I Extended Year program based on the recommendation of parents, as well as coordinated free meals through our summer nutrition programs,” Clinton said.

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