Summer learning a hit with hundreds of Tuscaloosa City school students

Summer learning program in Tuscaloosa
Summer learning program in Tuscaloosa
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 7:33 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - School is out for some, but not for everybody. Some students in Tuscaloosa are already back in the classroom for summer learning.

The goal is to preserve what students learned during the academic school year so they will continue to have that foundation to build on for the next school year.

The best part about the program? It’s all volunteer, meaning students are not compelled to attend.

The key word is ‘fun’ - the very component Dr. Andrew Maxey says they worked on to encourage students to attend summer learning, and not see the program so much as summer school.

“The students think they’re coming to camp, but they’re really coming to school. We just came around the corner where students are going on a nature walk, looking for living and non-living things. They’re looking for birds, bugs, and worms. That’s a science lesson,” said Dr. Maxey who is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Tuscaloosa City Schools.

Six summers and counting, the attendance has grown steadily.

“We have almost 60% of our elementary students registered for our summer learning program,” said Dr. Maxey.

Count 9-year-old Camden Smith among that 60%. The soon-to-be fourth grader says he is attending his fourth summer learning session and wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I heard about the science of the human body and I love learning about the human body and anatomy. It’s pretty much my favorite,” said Smith.

The upper grades also have summer learning. In all, it’s a 22-day curriculum with June 30 being the last day.

“Learning that presents itself as fun as a way to preserve the learning that happens during the school year, so when students start in the fall, they’re ready to go for another school year,” said Dr. Maxey.

The 17 summer learning programs are spread out over 15 campuses.

“It’s highly saturated around the district,” said Dr. Maxey.

“The real stuff starts next week. We’ll learn about the bones and muscles,” Smith said.

Dr. Andrew Maxey says one national study shows that up to two-thirds of the ninth grade achievement gap can be traced to elementary learning loss which makes summer learning even more important.

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