Weakley Co. Students Gain Real-World Experience Through Summer Scholars Program


Weakley Co.

School districts across the state have been tasked with figuring out how to make up for lost learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and schools in Weakley County this week celebrated the end of their installation of this program.

They called it Summer Scholars, and although it served the purpose of helping students make up for some of what they may have lost due to barriers to learning since schools were initially closed to in-person learning in March 2020, students were also able to have a hands-on learning experience to learn lessons and skills that will help them as they grow up.

“We got a group of teachers and administrators together to discuss how to infuse the days with opportunities for success,” said Terri Stephenson, WCS Elementary Education Supervisor. “Our new English language teaching program has turned out to be the perfect tool as each year focuses on a similar topic and the methodology for working with basic skills is scaffolded for grade level.”

The Martin Summer Fellows rising in first, second and third year have studied goods and services for the past four weeks. The day before the program ended, they learned that service can also be a way of doing good.

Over $ 1,200 was raised at a drive-through lemonade stand run by elementary school students. The results of the multi-hour investment will be used as a donation to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in honor of former student Eleanor LaFleur-Garlitz who is currently a patient there.

Teacher Brittany Morton helps Madalyn Jackson and Dylan Reed with soil for their planting project.

The Martin Elementary teachers, led by Academic Coach and Director of Summer Scholarships Emily Perry, chose to focus on community service after considering how best to end required reading and math lessons.

Summer Scholars is the name of schools in Weakley County designated for classes mandated by the state to deal with early learning loss during the pandemic.

Gabi Pinkston was celebrating an anniversary when area vehicles arrived for Touch-A-Truck.  She was given an extra treat because Martin Air Vac staff chose her to be the example of a “patient” to demonstrate how they help the injured when needed.

The student-run business included several mini-lemonade stands decorated by the children. Potential buyers were treated to entertainment as students chalked sidewalks and made hoops. And UT Martin’s new basketball players also spent time entertaining the students between clients.

After a morning of customer service, applying the ‘soft skills’ of welcoming each driver and asking for orders, delivering the product and remembering to say ‘thank you’, the students had a much better understanding of the stories than they did. they had read during their summer experience and how math skills apply to real life, Perry said.

“I think they all enjoyed it,” she observed after closing shop for the day. “They realize it was work. They also learned life lessons in generosity as many supporters of the booth chose to donate over $ 1 for the glass of lemonade.

Answering questions about where the growing amount of money is going also allowed for discussions about the children and families being helped by St. Jude, Perry said.

Eleanor LaFleur-Garlitz is a student at Martin Elementary School who was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia earlier this year which required her to attend school through home classes.  She is currently a patient at St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis, awaiting a bone marrow transplant.  Students at Martin Elementary School hosted a lemonade stand on Thursday, the proceeds of which will be donated to St. Jude in honor of Eleanor.

“We told them it helped sick children like Eleanor and it helped their families,” she said. “When they heard that these kids couldn’t be outside running a lemonade stand, it made them realize their own health and the value of helping others. “

While many of this group of students were not yet in school when Eleanor attended – she is now 9 years old and a fourth grader at Martin Elementary – his former teachers were delighted with him. show their love and support.

In home classes since being diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia earlier this spring, Eleanor has been the subject of several efforts to make sure she knows she is not forgotten.

Events like Thursday’s help the family remind her of the lasting impression she has already left and help bring attention to a disease so rare that St. Jude only sees four to five cases a year, wrote mother Renee LaFleur, as she moved her family to Target. Home for the next few months. Eleanor is currently undergoing tests and evaluations for a bone marrow transplant.

“Martin Primary was Eleanor’s home for three years. She had wonderful teachers and helpers, two of whom we stayed in touch with, and made some wonderful friends. They are truly part of our family, ”she explained. “It warmed our hearts when the kids wanted to donate the lemonade stand product on her behalf. St. Jude’s is a blessing, as is Primary Martin.

At Gleason School, attendance remained stable at an average of 42. A staff of 11 teachers and teaching assistants, a principal, the nurse, the school resources manager and the cafeteria staff provided the necessary materials for the school. take young minds on weekly explorations far beyond the pages of the chosen reading and writing curriculum.

Sometimes it sounded like a tour of a Prairie Farms milk truck or rumors of savings after a brisk walk to Gleason’s bank. Representatives from EW James brought in a range of products for the students to take a close look at. A Touch-A-Truck experience – made possible by Carroll County Electric, Weakley County Ambulance Service, Gleason Fire, Gleason Police, City of Gleason, West Tennessee Public Utilities, KR Tucking, Doyle Sims Trucking and Weakley County Schools Transportation – brought from big smiles with sweaty faces on a particularly hot day. The smiles turned to expressions of awe as the Martin Air Evac helicopter landed at Snider Park. In addition to the chance to see major modes of transportation, students interacted with drivers, received insights into career choices, and took home gifts, from helmets to sunglasses.

As each of these unique experiences strengthened students’ foundational knowledge, teachers and teaching assistants then took inspiration from them to help students understand the relationship of sounds to letters, letters to words, and words. words for reading and writing. Comparison and contrast as well as sequencing was made easier as the students took steps to make jam, butter and ice cream. And, of course, math skills were applied to every recipe followed.

When the students learned how paper is recycled to make new paper, they then headed to the Gleason Memorial Library and librarian Anna Eaton contributed to the many art experiences the students had already enjoyed by modeling bookmark making in origami. The library also has a reading challenge for students to complete by the end of the summer fellows with prizes for their efforts.

Future third-grader Ella Roney said she enjoyed the math lessons – the games and working with hands-on math manipulations. She said it helped her prepare for third year.

Prospective fifth, sixth and seventh graders focused on math and science by participating in skill activities based on fractions, multiplication and division and creating sound wave models. The novel “Number the Stars” helped develop contextual cues, creative writing, and comprehension. Exploration of the arts manifested in the form of the culinary arts as students made butter and ice cream and visual arts as they painted, assembled mosaics, and augmented their science experiments with colorful volcanoes and lava lamps.

From the perspective of Grade 5 student Natalie Tidwell, their efforts have been productive.

“I had a lot of fun doing different projects and seeing my teachers and can’t wait to get back to school,” she said.


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