Students in Lori Lewis’ kindergarten class work on writing July 21 at Siersma Elementary in Warren.

Students in Lori Lewis’ kindergarten class work on writing July 21 at Siersma Elementary in Warren.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Learning continues this summer in WCS

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published July 27, 2021


WARREN/STERLING HEIGHTS — On the late morning of July 21, teacher Lori Lewis presented a math activity at Siersma Elementary School to a group of kindergarten students who sat together on the floor.

Each time Lewis held up a card with a certain number of large dots on it, the students counted how many they saw and said the number aloud.

In another classroom, Heather Kost worked with students during a lesson that included both guided and independent reading. Other classrooms were busy as well with different activities for the kindergarten through fifth grade students.

This summer, Warren Consolidated Schools has been offering a number of academic classes to K-5 students in need of extra support. The elementary summer school program is being held at Siersma in Warren, and at Jefferson Elementary School in Sterling Heights.

The program is for elementary students throughout the district who were recommended by their classroom teachers to attend. The curriculum covers literacy and mathematics, as well as social and emotional components. The sessions are held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays with the students learning virtually from home on Fridays.

“We have a wide variety of things going on. It’s very student-centered and student-focused,” K-5 Principal Jack Stanton said. “We really wanted to make sure the kids are feeling like school is a fun place they would want to be.”

But at the same time, they’re learning the material. For some students, this is the first time they have been in a face-to-face classroom setting due to learning remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many kids in our program haven’t been in a classroom since March 2020. We’re helping the kids get acclimated to the school environment,” said Stanton, who is the Cromie Elementary School principal during the school year. “This puts them in a good position to progress forward.”

So far, “They’re doing great,” Stanton said. “We’ve gotten really positive feedback from the parents, the kids and the teachers.”

Summer school is divided up into two-week sessions, and a different group of students attend each session. Session one was held June 28 through July 9. Session two began July 19 and continues until July 30. The third session is scheduled for Aug. 9-20.

One of Stanton’s favorite aspects of the program is that each student gets to pick out seven brand-new books to take home. The books were made possible through a grant.

Along with the academic courses, school officials also are holding enrichment classes this summer. Educators believe this is one way for students to reconnect after having little contact with their peers because of COVID-19.

“We felt it was really important to give kids a head start for next year which is where the concept of enrichment came from,” said WCS Superintendent Robert Livernois, who visited Siersma last Wednesday. “We felt it was really important to engage the students this summer as a precursor to starting school in the fall and get them back in the swing. You have students that are entering first grade who were in kindergarten last year who didn’t spend much time physically in the building.”

The enrichment classes were available to students at each grade level and included many topics: nutrition, Michigan history, poetry, culinary arts, marketing, screenwriting and more. Some classes were in person, while others were virtual.

There is also a literacy camp for middle school students and credit recovery for high school students this summer. The district has also offered a special education program for elementary students at Siersma, and the middle school classes are at Grissom Middle School.

In total, about 1,300 students are enrolled in the summer school programs across the district. The classes are taught by WCS teachers, with the exception of a few instructors that are substitutes or student teachers.