LAURINBURG — School officials learned that middle school students will have the opportunity to remain engaged in learning over the summer.
Dr. Jonathan McRae, director of secondary education, and Amber Hutchins, STEM facilitator, presented to the Scotland County School Board of Education with two summer programs that the district will offer— CTE Summer Camp and Passport to STEM.
The CTE summer program is for rising seventh through ninth grade students and will be held June 25-28. The camp will be a half day, running from 8 a.m. to noon Mondays through Thursdays.
“Many years ago, we did this with the GEAR Up initiative and we decided to bring it back to give students an opportunity to explore the experiences that exist at Scotland High School in our CTE program,” McRae said.
Programs offered include culinary arts, digital media, agriculture, business, marketing and information technology, health science and trade and industry.
Students will rank the programs in order of interest and will be assigned to different groups and will spend the week working on a project.
“On Thursday, we’ll invite you to come out and see what they’ve learned,” McRae said. “They’ll do a presentation for you.”
The camp is free to eligible students and transportation along with breakfast and lunch will be provided.
McRae said enrollment is open, but officials are expecting between 100 and 150 students.
Applications for CTE Summer Camp can be found on the district’s website and are due by May 25.
Passport to STEM
The Passport to STEM Summer Camp was made possible by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a three-year grant the district received for student science enrichment, and local funds provided by the school board.
“Burroughs Wellcome has certain objectives we go by, the overall objective is a two-part enrichment program,” said Hutchins. “We have Passport to STEM which is the summer part then we have Science Journeys that happen during the school year. The idea is we are going to take our kids on this trip through science teaching them the engineering components and giving them that love of science and problem solving.”
Activities during Passport to STEM will include cleaning up an oil spill, designing knee braces, building bridges and windmills, design and construct solar cars, body system challenges along with a field trip to Discovery Place Museum in Charlotte.
“The activities are from ‘Engineering is Elementary’ it’s a curriculum that is done by the Museum of Science, Boston,” Hutchins said. “That’s all going to happen in eight days.”
Campers will also do lunch and learn with an engineer each day. If an engineer can’t make it into town, the campers will have a Skype session with them.
“I want them to see that engineers are every day people, they aren’t the mad scientists running around in lab coats,” she said. “They are regular people that are right here in their community that are problem solvers. I want them to see they can become an engineer.”
The camp will be held July 16-27 at I. Ellis Johnson Elementary School and will target students that will be for rising fifth graders that are identified as at risk for not passing the science EOG (end of grade exam.)
Passport to STEM will be run by four teachers and will accommodate 70 students, a number board member Dr. Carolyn Banks wants to find a way to increase.
“Why can’t be have 140 students? What can the county do to grow this program because this is exactly what we need,” Banks said.
Hutchins said the grant had to be written to target a particular group of students, but if the program is successful over the next three years the district can re-apply for funding through the grant and ask for a continuance.
“We had to show how we were targeting the at-risk population,” Hutchins said. “Obviously once we get this started there is nothing saying it’s not good for everyone else.”
Students will remain engaged in the program using Saturday Science Journeys that will be held once each quarter during the school year.
Students are going to be working on topics and content that benchmark data has shown they continue to struggle with including building ecosystems, working with air pressure and wind, analyzing the circulatory and respiratory systems and building a model of the musculoskeletal system.
In other business:
— Meredith Bounds, public information officer, presented certificates to 19 students in the district that earned Platinum on Work Keys assessments. Bounds also recognized Mira Ward and Ali Andrews who were selected to attend this year’s Governor’s School.
— Superintendent Ron Hargrave informed the board that 30 Scotland County teachers would be attending the teacher rally in Raleigh today.
— Larry Johnson, assistant superintendent of auxiliary services, provided a consolidation update. At Sycamore Lane contractors were finalizing the roof on Building B, closest to the road, and were working to finish the tie in from the new roof to the current roof on Building A, closest to the playground, before the rain started on Tuesday. At Laurel Hill, two crews of masons were working on the exterior brick on both additions. Installation of sheet rock and insulation was set to begin this week.
The Scotland County Board of Education will meet in committee on May 29 at 5 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]