Summer fun in summer school: Carter County’s program has over 1,000 students enrolled

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CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Summer school programs are underway across the region, and for many, this summer is far different than years past.

The 2020-2021 academic year was a whirlwind of change due to the pandemic. Classes were held virtually and in-person with ever-changing schedules due to outbreaks of the virus in schools, in most cases, sending kids back to virtual learning temporarily once again.

This year, the Tennessee Department of Education provided and allocated funds for summer school programs across the state along with additional funding for transportation to these programs, according to The Carter County Schools District Curriculum and Instruction Director, Dr. LaDonna Boone.

Boone said the idea for a summer school program in Carter County came from the state level, but it’s something the district has wanted to do for a long time but the funds just weren’t there.

While smaller versions of summer programs have existed within the county in the past years, there was nothing that encompassed all curriculum in a setting similar to that of a classroom during the school year.

This year, along with making up for learning loss and gaps, the summer program is helping educate kids in a fun way. The program in Carter County Schools surrounds one theme, ‘ Super Cool Summer School’– a theme focused on nature.

“We were competing with a typical summer and what kids typically do in the summer versus school, but we’ve really worked hard to make it very motivating, very fun, and an exciting way to learn at the same time,” said Boone.

There are just over 1,000 students enrolled in the summer school with about 900 of those students in grades K through 8.

“Even your higher achieving students didn’t reach their full potential had it been a normal school year. This program will be beneficial to students at all different levels, but especially our most vulnerable population,” said Hampton Elementary 1st Grade Teacher, Mandy Garland.

With a greater need for summer school this year, officials with the district are pleased to see such a high turnout and are happy to be offering such a program.

“We want them to get excited about school, especially since they’ve already been in school all school year and now have to go 3 or 4 more weeks, that’s not so much fun so we wanted to make it fun for them,” said Hampton Elementary 1st Grade Teacher, Kelly Collins,

The program started on June 7th and lasts four weeks.

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