Summer is a learning adventure in Jackson County
Jackson County educators and nonprofit leaders are taking fun, hands-on experiences like kayaking, splash pads and art activities, mixing in some STEM and reading lessons, and creating enriching opportunities for hundreds of students.
It’s all part of the Jackson County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s annual Summer Adventure program. This summer, over 160 kids from all six Jackson County elementary schools who would benefit from reading instruction are invited to three or four full days of weekly programming that is directed by each school to meet the needs of its students.
Each morning, children join a group with others at their reading level, and teachers guide them in reading, writing, word structure and math. In the afternoon, a coordinator for the Campaign organizes hands-on learning activities and field trips with local partners. The Campaign also coordinates funding for needs like transportation and food.
Both students and parents appreciate the opportunity for small-group learning and building close friendships. Parents and guardians also appreciate how Summer Adventure streamlines summer activities. Because each session is a full day, adults can coordinate their work schedules around the experience.
"This program is a great thing for our littles. It keeps their minds engaged in a smaller setting, so it gives more time to the student as individuals or small groups,” says parent Ashley Stroyhan. “I appreciate all the teachers and staff do!"
On the last day of Summer Adventure, students visited a local farm, witnessing agriculture in action through seven hands-on learning activities. The Jackson County Cattlemen grilled burgers for their lunch.
The Campaign focuses year-round on helping local students read proficiently by third grade, a critical milestone for predicting future success in school and in life. Summer Adventure is one of many programs Campaign Coordinator Joanne Evans oversees to equip youth and their families with the tools they need to meet that goal.
The group applies for grants and accepts donations all year to support reading readiness efforts such as the Well Child Exam book program at county medical clinics and the Brush Book Bed project at county dental clinics. It also provides popular book give-away tables at local school districts and community events.
This year marks the seventh year of Summer Adventure in the county. “We are proud of the history of the Campaign in Jackson County. This is the most ambitious program on our calendar,” says Evans.
Last year, 72% of Summer Adventure participants maintained or improved their scores on benchmark testing when they returned to school in the fall. “We are often sent the students most in need of reading stimulation in the summer, and so to maintain their reading levels in the fall as they transfer to the next grade is a true success,” says Evans.
The Jackson County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is an initiative supported by the Community Foundation of Jackson County. “We are grateful to this year's major funders, including The McDonough Foundation, AE Pearson Foundation and the Jackson County Board of Supervisors,” Evans says.
The Community Foundation of Jackson County offers many opportunities to improve quality of life by addressing an array of local issues. To learn more about how you can establish a fund or make a gift that impacts your community, contact Executive Director Lori Loch at 563-588-2700.