Belvidere School District’s elementary and middle school students will no longer be participating in summer school. Instead, students will take part in a “Summer Science Spectacular,” during which they’ll have the opportunity to explore and imagine new possibilities for summer learning as a result of a re-branding and revitalization of the traditional summer school model. The goal was to move away from the routine of what summer school has too often become, moving instead into more motivational instruction focused on opportunities for excitement and intrigue in learning.
This revamped program has higher attendance numbers. Over 260 students are enrolled in summer school at Washington Academy. Students are taking classes that provide academic enrichment and activities in areas of interest to the students. Each grade level has a focused theme, ranging from learning about the weather to how a microscope functions.
"I'm thrilled that our kids and parents are excited to participate in this new program," summer school principal Elin Anderson said. "There's a great interest in this community for this and we hope to expand it even more for next year."
Special Education students also have the opportunity to attend summer school at Meehan Elementary. 115 students are enrolled in the program that focuses on academic and functional skills. Students receive speech, occupational and physical therapies while working on their IEP goals. Summer school provides the students the opportunity to maintain and improve skills that they could lose over the summer break. The Belvidere Park District participates with hands on activities. The Boone County Sheriff's K-9 unit, Belvidere Fire Department and Summerfield Zoo provide on-site field trips for the students.
"I think we got the message out that summer school is not just about school," said Assistant Superintendent, Megan Johnson. "It's an opportunity to have fun and learn at the same time."