VIDEO: Parents, students learn together in Summer Academy
Folsom Cordova’s annual Family Engagement Summer Academy took place at White Rock Elementary School earlier this year. What years ago started as a summer meal program for kids turned into a full summer learning camp where kids can stay active and continue learning in the summer.
There were 65 students in the academy, ranging from grades 1-6. After sixth grade, many come back the next year as volunteers called ‘CIT’s’ (or Counselors in Training) which help in the classrooms and interact with the children.
This year’s theme was ‘Makers Space,’ which included coding, robotics and technology. Kids in the academy rotated between classrooms featuring different hands-on, DIY activities such as making their own games, as well as classes in art and yoga. The children loved showing off their work to their caring adults, teachers and the CIT’s.
Caring adults include parents, grandparents, or anyone that's a guardian to the child. On Mondays and Wednesdays, adults had the opportunity to hear from guest speakers who offered insight about creating better and more effective communication with their children. All of these sessions are translated, in real time, into Spanish for non English-speakers.
“The Summer Academy meets a need in this community,” said Linda Burkholder, who recently retired as the District’s director of family engagement and support services. “We’re keeping kids safe. We’re giving them lunch, the school district gives them breakfast and lunch everyday [of the academy], and we give them engaging STEM activities. The parents and other caring adults are learning together as adults and then their sharing those skills and information to benefit their families; and they're also reinforcing the importance of learning with their children.”