Summer Stimulation

As usual, summertime is cruising by at hyper speed, and our school bell will be ringing again before we know it. Summer is a time to relax and rejuvenate and to spend time doing things you love and with those you love. Three months is a long time to be away from peers and academic stimulation and engagement, though.

Many great changes and additions are being developed for the ARCTIC Zone for next year, but a goal of ours this summer is to maintain frequent communication with our students and families. Here’s a peak at how we have maintained that communication:

Every week, we have students joining us for one-on-one tutoring sessions. I have been blown away at the number of students who are calling me on my cell phone and emailing me at home to set up their next session or to tell me about their summer. This puts a smile on my face because I love the relationships I am building with my students in this program, but I also see the skills they are developing by advocating for their own learning and time. I was amazed at how many students did not know how to make a phone call or write a proper email at the start of the year. Now they’re communicating with me to come in over their SUMMERS to work on academics!

Last month, we hosted a STEM challenge for any of our 7th grade students to attend. It was so much fun to see each of them enter the room that morning. There were high fives, hugs, fist bumps, and so many smiles, as if they hadn’t seen each other in years, though they had been out of school less than three weeks.

We spent the morning catching up and sharing stories. Then we jumped into the morning’s challenge: to work with a team to design a thermal protective system for NASA, using specified materials, that will protect astronauts from heat produced by atmospheric pressures.

Yesterday was our second STEM challenge which had all minds engaged the moment they walked in the door. Can you blame them? The challenge was to apply some basic coding commands to navigate a Sphero ball through a maze of obstacles. Let’s just say the morning flew by!

Coming up next week, we have our summer family picnic, where we are excited to blend all of our returning with our incoming families for the first time. And our final STEM challenge will be in August. Coupled with the ongoing tutor sessions this year, we will be back in the fall in no time, and it will be as if we never left! These kids amaze me daily. I’m so glad I don’t have to go all summer without seeing or hearing from them!

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