School’s out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean learning stops for students from Holly Ridge Primary and Holly Hills Elementary. In fact, you’ll find students checking out books, working with teachers and community volunteers on reading, writing and math, and playing educational games on computers in the Holly Hills library, one afternoon a week, all summer long.
“I think it’s great,” said fourth grader Ariana Leone, who can walk or ride her bike to the school library. “This is the first year I’ve been here that the library has been open during the summer.” Leone, who is reading at a sixth grade level, says that makes it easier for her to check out books about things like science and spiders.
First grade teacher Jennifer Marsh proposed the idea that the school library open once a week during the summer. She recruited several teachers and school volunteers who donate their time to staff the library from 2-4 pm on Wednesdays in June and July.
“It’s a good idea,” said Eskendir Erena, who brought his preschool son and first grade daughter to the library. “They wanted to come to school. They can read more, write, do math.”
“It’s an excellent idea,” said Saad Sawairi, whose second grade twins were busy working on writing with teacher Manny Nogami and volunteer Carol Jones. “The kids love to come to school. The teachers here are doing what’s best for kids.”
“I think it’s important for these kids to feel like we’re here for them during the summer and that learning is important,” said Nogami, who teaches kindergarten.
The staff at Holly Ridge, which serves students in kindergarten, first and second grade, and Holly Hills, which serves third through fifth graders, is focused on stopping the “summer slide,” where students lose educational ground when school is out.
“At the end of the school year, we sent every student home with three books and a journal with math and writing activities,” said Principal Chad Gerity. “We met with parents to help them understand how much the summer slide can hurt students, especially over their whole academic career.”
Having the library open and teachers ready to help students during break is another way to stop or slow the summer slide.
“I think it’s wonderful we have 12 teachers who are willing to donate their time to work with students during summer break,” said Gerity. “It speaks to the fact that they understand what’s at stake. This is their students’ future and we want them to be successful, go to college, get good jobs. It all starts in elementary school.”
In addition to Holly Hills, Cimarron Elementary is also opening its library this summer. Both schools serve very diverse student populations, with a high percentage of English Language Learners.
Posted June 26, 2014.