Teacher’s aide Kelly Rudolph of Toledo, left, tutors kindergarten student Roxy Ostertag on Thursday. The Little Jackets Academic Camp in Perrysburg is for students who need or want extra help in the summer.
Teachers can find going back to school a bit scary because some students lose progress in reading and learning during the summer.
Perrysburg Schools tried to address that with students from preschool to third grade with its Little Jackets Academic Camp this summer. Perrysburg Heights Community Center held about five teachers, five camp counselors, and 50 children from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each weekday for eight weeks this summer. This is the final week of the camp.
“[The camp] was a little bit a result of the [state’s] third-grade reading guarantee,” said Kadee Anstadt, executive director of teaching and learning. “We noticed ground made up during the year was disappearing with our reading intervention students over the summer. We are preventing that slide and having a fun summer.”
The mornings are mostly dedicated to reading and working on those skills. Afternoons are more of a camplike feel with projects, singing, and fun outside.
Each Friday, there is a field trip. The students have been to a Mud Hens game, a fire station, Imagination Station, Fort Meigs, Toledo Zoo, and other places.
Last year, Perrysburg Schools had to retain four students because of the third-grade reading guarantee standard. Two of the students attended the camp and one went to an elementary school camp. One of the student’s has now passed his reading test and won’t have to stay in third grade this month, while another is awaiting test results.
Joseph Feltman, who will be entering the fourth grade in the fall, ponders a vocabulary question at the Little Jackets Academic Camp.
“The growth in students [shows] from our data, they are flying along,” said Sarilyn Sintobin, kindergarten teacher at Fort Meigs Elementary and camp director.
“It is a lot of fun to see them work on it. You see base level skills like sounding it out happen. We say to each other, ‘Look, she’s doing it, she’s sounding it out.’ ”
Ms. Sintobin was glowing with happiness to see students test scores soar. She liked giving some children an opportunity to have fun that students during the school year don’t have.
“Some of the students have never been to the zoo before,” she said. “We give them the opportunity to go back to school and have a comparative summer to other students — that is one of the most exciting things to me.’ ”
The children at the summer camp are served breakfast and lunch each day through Feed Lucas County Children nonprofit. It is a free camp for the invited students that need the extra help. Ms. Anstadt said they expect to spend less than the $60,000 budget set for it.
The school district paid $31,000 for the camp and private donations have covered another $22,000 so far. Eventually, the district will try to hold the camp each year and have grants fund it entirely.