One popular, but very incorrect, belief about school systems is that summertime is the “slow time” of the year. In reality, the closing out of one school and fiscal year and the preparation for the next keeps school, district administration, and staff pretty busy during the summer months. And this summer is certainly no different!
Summer camps and learning opportunities were plentiful during this summer. Shortly after classes ended, the Read to Achieve Summer Reading Camp began for some of our district’s 3rd graders. As mandated by the state legislature’s Read to Achieve Law, Scotland County Schools provided the camp as an opportunity for those students that, based on testing results during the school year, needed some additional help in reading. This six-week enrichment camp ended just last week and based on initial scores, many of the camp attendees have now achieved a proficient score on the Read to Achieve assessment. We also had many other students who participated in the camp show growth on these same assessments. We are certainly proud of all of these students and the hard work they did.
Laurel Hill Elementary School hosted a reading camp for their students as well. More than 70 students attended the two-week camp. They read books and completed projects that were centered around the camp’s nature theme. Camp attendees also decided that they wanted to do something to give back to the community, and they raised money for the Humane Society and were able to purchase dog beds for the facility.
Wagram Elementary School encouraged summer reading by opening their school library several days a month during the summer. This was the first year that the school offered this opportunity and because of the success that they’ve seen with students coming in to the library, checking out books, and reading during the summer, it is a program that they plan to continue next summer.
And our new superintendent, Dr. Ron Hargrave, also issued his own summer reading challenge. Dr. Hargrave has been encouraging students to read at least 20 minutes each day during the summer months to prevent the effect of “summer slide,” the learning loss that happens during the summertime. As an incentive to read, those students participating in the challenge will have their names entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free Kindle fire.
Our middle and high school students have been active this summer as well. We are extremely proud of two of our students that competed in the national Technology Students Association Conference, held June 27 through July 1 at the Gaylord National Convention Center at the National Harbor in Baltimore, Md. Chancellor Byrd, a Spring Hill Middle School student, was a finalist in the Prepared Speech category, finishing 12th out of 86 participants. Javonate Williams, a student at SEarCH, served as the NC State Reporter on the National TSA Board.
Fourteen rising SCS seniors were selected to participate in the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce’s Junior Leadership program. Just last week these students visited and learned about various aspects of our community. These student leaders completed the program with a better understanding for and appreciation of how our county and city works and the many opportunities we have right here in our community.
The GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) program had summer camp opportunities in which close to 100 rising 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students explored possible career pathways as well as CTE (Career and Technical Education) course options. Our mission to make sure our students are college and career ready definitely doesn’t take a pause during the summer months!
And in preparation for the upcoming school year, teachers and administrators have been participating in a variety of professional development opportunities throughout the summer (and continue to do so). In response to the great success of the first summit last summer, our second annual “Innovations in Education” summit will be held on the campus of Scotland High School, Aug. 20 and Aug. 21. Over the two-day period, a variety of courses will be offered to educators to help prepare them for a successful school year.
So, as you can see, the summer months are anything but slow. As the calendar turns to August and the first day of school is in the forefront, the sense of excitement for a great school year is literally palpable. We invite you to share in this excitement and enthusiasm and become involved in our schools.
The vitality of our community is inexplicably tied to, and dependent upon, the success of our students and schools. We help prepare tomorrow’s leaders and provide yet another reason for businesses and industries to Target Laurinburg/Scotland County as a place to locate and grow.
Meredith Bounds is the public information officer for Scotland County Schools.