While most students are indulging in a summer of relaxation away from school, students at Meadow Bridge Elementary School are immersing themselves in the Elementary Summer Academy.

This summer tutoring program, which runs through July 28, offers students in Fayette County the opportunity to increase their mastery of basic skills and assist them in striving for grade level proficiency in reading, math and science.

“The Summer Tutoring Programs at Meadow Bridge Elementary School are intended for students who have failed to show mastery on the basic skills of reading, math and/or science ... I think it’s so important for kids to have a good start,” says Linda Boley, project director and a kindergarten and pre-kindergarten teacher at Meadow Bridge Elementary.

Boley has been successfully writing grants for her school for the past six years, helping Meadow Bridge Elementary win 16 West Virginia grants in reading, math, and/or science.

The Title I after-school program received help from WV READS, enacted by the state Legislature in 1998, WVMATH enacted in 1999 and WV Science enacted in 2002. These bills initiated a competitive grant program for kindergarten through fourth grade in mathematics and reading, and fourth through sixth grade in science. This marks the seventh year for the program.

“I feel that these programs are very important for students who tend to struggle a little during the regular school year,” Boley says, “I think some students need extra help ... more focus and attention.”

Boley also hopes to keep students from regressing over the summer by offering a fun learning alternative.

Boley says, “Statewide, these programs have proven to be a success over the past seven years. Children are achieving their academic goals at a faster rate. These programs have had a tremendous impact on student achievement in basic skills, improved test scores, and have enhanced reading skills of at-risk students.”

This year the WV READS and WV MATH Grant Program is correlated with the Title I Summer Academy Program and held at the same time, 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday. However, the Science Program will be held in the afternoon from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Boley says by combining these programs, it allows the opportunity to intensify small group instruction. She invites parents to visit the school to observe how the various learning centers and teaching strategies are used to help the students understand concepts in reading and math.

“The programs are correlated with regular classroom objectives. Therefore, all instruction is consistent with the state content standards,” Boley says.

College education students from Marshall, Concord, West Virginia and Mountain State universities are invited to assist in the extended-year tutoring program. High school tutors are also invited to play Beach Ball Toss with the students to help practice in beginning sounds, letter recognition, vocabulary and basic math facts.

All instruction and meals are free. The Fayette County Food Service Program provides a breakfast and lunch each day including a snack in the evening for the students attending the science tutoring.

Several field trips are planned for the programs including the Clay Center in Charleston, Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, Grandview Park, fish hatchery, Good Evening Ranch (Feedbox), and Lost Caverns.

Among the guest speakers who will visit the summer programs include scientists from U.S. Geologic Survey, Debra Pemberton from Oak Hill Garden Club, a forensics specialist from MSU and a weatherman.

The summer programs have also collaborated with the Foster Grandparent’s Program where a ‘foster grandparent’ will attend every tutoring session and every field trip but also assist with the students’ daily activities.

— E-mail: thartsog@register-herald.com

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