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DES Summer Campers at the Knoxville Zoo
Kristi Waltke

Summer Campers receive support to increase readiness for success in the 22-23 school year while enjoying many fun activities.

Jefferson County Schools accelerated student learning with summer programs for almost 1,000 students this June.  Elementary and middle schools worked hard to identify students who could use an academic boost in an engaging, small group environment.  The summer programs were funded with state and federal money with the intention of making up ground for students due to missed instructional time throughout the pandemic.   

Students attended learning camps four days a week throughout the month of June.  The focus was on reading and math instruction with additional time devoted to more individualized needs in reading and math called “intervention time.”  Elementary-aged students also participated in STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, Math) activities every day.   

Summer learning camp teachers commented that the summer learning atmosphere and the smaller class sizes gave struggling students a chance to shine.  Dandridge Elementary math teacher Elaine McBride said, “Summer Learning Camp is a great opportunity for students who need a little extra encouragement to receive more one-on-one interaction with teachers and assistants than they do during the regular school year.  This interaction helped build students confidence for future academic growth.”   

Elementary-aged campers took a field trip to Zoo Knoxville.  White Pine School teachers commented they were surprised the field trip was the first time for so many of their students to go to the zoo.  It was a great experience for our young learners.  Additionally, Muse Knoxville brought an educational program to each summer learning camp site.  A huge mobile planetarium was set up in each gym.  Muse Knoxville also set up a “STEM Carnival” where students could rotate through and explore different activities.  The JCS Literacy STEM bus visited each summer learning camp as well with hands-on learning activities.   

In middle school, teachers ensured students made up ground in reading and math and had a positive experience as well.  In addition to daily math and reading instruction, middle school students attended a field trip to Wonder Works.  Students were able to experience STEM activities at Wonder Works which extended learning from the traditional school year STEM classes. 

Because of Jefferson County Schools’ summer programs, more students will be ready to learn at higher levels when school starts back in August! Jefferson County Schools appreciates all the hard work that went into making the summer programs a success! Thank you, principals, academic planners, site directors, teachers, instructional assistants, ALL Corps tutors, technology staff, custodians, nurses, nutrition staff, bus drivers, and parents! 



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