Education Activity Offers Free Summer Enrichment Program
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 14, 2009 For military students who can’t squeeze enough learning into the school year, the Department of Defense Education Activity has the perfect solution.
For the fifth year, the agency is offering eligible students in kindergarten through 8th grade a free, four-week summer enrichment program with a curriculum emphasizing math and language arts.
DoDEA officials expect enrollment of about 10 percent of all the 6,500 students in kindergarten through 8th grade in the activity’s school system, Joel K. Hansen, DoDEA’s special projects coordinator, said.
“It’s not a remedial program. It’s not a program to help students catch up,” he said. “It is … designed to support and reinforce student learning in high-interest activities.”
The curriculum for kindergarten through 5th grade, called “Mysteries,” is provided by Texas-based Voyager Expanded Learning Co., Hansen said. It’s the same company that provides the “Media Magic” program for older students.
As much as the students enjoy the program, Hansen said, the teachers are just as excited.
“I think the teachers that have been involved in the program have really enjoyed teaching it,” he said. “Some of them have been teaching it for several years straight. They don’t have to -- they sign up for it.”
While students usually are kept with other students their age, in some cases the program will conduct multi-age groups, Hansen added.
“From what I’ve seen and heard about some of the activities, kids just have a great time,” he said. “They’re fun. They’re engaging. They’re active. You have a lot of opportunities for student engagement. Sometimes it’s fun to see the little ones work with the older ones.”
The pilot for the program began in 2004 with four sites in Germany. DoDEA now offers the program in its Europe, Pacific and stateside schools.
Department of Defense Dependent Schools Pacific will begin the month-long program June 22. DoDDS Europe will begin either June 22 or June 29. Start times for the stateside schools vary, Hansen said. Parents should check with their child’s school to determine both eligibility and the start date, he advised.
Neither transportation nor lunch is provided. Students generally don’t need to brown-bag it either, as the classes run for three hours in the morning and are over by noon, Hansen said.