Summer vacation: not so you can tell it

If you think school is a 10-month-a-year endeavor, you need to put on the pointy hat and go sit on that stool. Sure, the regulation “school year” is up and things have slowed down some, but work goes on at all of our public schools, educators continue to get educated and students are enrolled in LCPS-sponsored summer activities.

Here’s a quick look at just some of the things going on during our so-called summer vacation:

— The Digital Learning Team, composed of teachers, principals and central office supervisors, is in workshops all this week. Already they’ve spent two days with Apple trainers learning out to use MacBook Air laptops and the amazing software on them as teaching tools. This is a train-the-trainer workshop, so the information the team learns will be passed on to classroom teachers, who will also be equipped with laptops. In the eyes of students, who already see computers as the source of all information, this is Big Medicine. Imagine the level of engagement in a class where a teacher helps students put together a multi-media presentation on, say, the Crimea’s ever-changing geopolitical landscape or a video on their field trip to a local truck farm. Leveraging students’ affinity for digital learning isn’t the way forward for education; it’s just the way.

— The first of four GEAR UP Summer Venture camps is also under way this week. GEAR UP is a grant-funded program in its second year at LCPS that aims to put young students in a college-going frame of mind. During the school year, it acquaints students with various career options, working in concert with local business and industry, and organizes field trips to college campuses. In other words, it opens their eyes to possibilities.DSC_1418 This week, at the camp for rising seventh and eighth graders, some 45 students from each of our four middle schools are focusing on team-building and leadership skills and getting a large dose of math and engineering through a hands-on introduction to aeronautics. They’re all building model gliders and tomorrow they’ll fly them. Fittingly, this camp is being held at the N.C. Global TransPark.

Other Summer Venture camps will involve rising ninth graders, to give them a boost as they head into high school, and rising seniors, to prepare them for their final year of high school and the changes that come with graduation. Scheduled earlier was a session for recent graduates heading to college in the fall.

— For 10 days in July, 30 LCPS teachers will gather for a math workshop made possible because of a Math and Science Partnership Grant with East Carolina University. One of our immediate goals is to improve students’ math scores. A little longer-range goal is to increase middle-school enrollment in — and ensure success in — the important Math I course, which is the gateway to more advanced math courses in high school. Helping teachers develop new strategies for teaching math is the key to achieving both.

— On July 10 from 10 a.m. to noon, LCPS and other members of the Community Outreach Committee are sponsoring a Literacy Lunch & Learn parent workshop at Southeast Elementary. The workshop is designed to assist parents in learning new ways to help their children perform better in school. Children ages 3 to high school are welcome to participate with their parents in activities. The workshop is free, and lunch is included.