At the beginning of June, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) launched the landmark Summer Scholars program, which includes upwards of 5,000 participating students throughout every school in the district. Over 20 of these schools partnered with Activities Beyond the Classroom (ABC), ensuring that afternoons are about learning by play.
“This is not the summer school of yesteryear,” Dr. Dawn Williams, the CPS Curriculum Math Manager, said. “This is a re-imagined Summer Scholars program and we’re so excited about it.”
While students spend their mornings focusing on academics and social/emotional learning, their afternoons are filled with enrichment activities, provided through partnership with Activities Beyond the Classroom (ABC) and other nonprofits.
“I’ve seen martial arts. I’ve seen gardening, cooking clubs, STEAM activities,” said Casey Fisher, manager of CPS’ Community Learning Center. “Our students will definitely be able to still enjoy their summer as part of summer scholars.”
Enrichment curriculums were designed mindfully and carefully to cater specifically to the needs and interests of each school’s student population. Some examples of the programming offered include music, visual art, performing art, STEM, languages, and environmental learning. Even if students don’t enjoy a particular activity, they have plenty of variety to keep their weeks exciting. “For example,” Rachel Stallings, Director of Programs at ABC, explained, “at one of our schools, students take dance, tennis, and video game design on Mondays. On Tuesdays, they take American Sign Language, chess, and tennis. Every day of the week, they have something new to look forward to, and they’ll build upon those lessons in successive weeks.”
All told, ABC is leading 285 unique sessions at over 20 schools, and working with 62 activity leaders to ensure the children being served are excited to be a part of Summer Scholars.
Stallings shared that the first weeks of summer scholars have already been a resounding success. “It was a bit tricky, launching so many activities for so many students, but things started wonderfully and we’re seeing students not only engaged, but excited. And the payoff is so plain to see: one kid gets excited about flying their first drone, and all the hard work is worth it.”
“Our mission is to ensure that CPS students participate in activities outside of the academic classroom that develop the skills that will help them succeed in life,” ABC Executive Director Brian Leshner said of the partnership. “Summer Scholars allows us to do this year round, which is something we haven’t been able to do before. It’s important that students feel like they get a break in the summer, but it’s also incredibly important that they don’t stop learning. Summer Scholars allows us to keep the conversation going all year long, which is especially crucial during the formative years of a young person’s education.”
Summer Scholars has already begun, but it’s not too late to sign up! To get your student involved, contact their home school today.