Taking A LEAP

Jamestown Public Schools Elementary School Students Will Benefit From Summer Literacy Program

Above, Jamestown students work on a STEAM project at last year’s Summer Lit Camp. Below, Jamestown students enjoy independent reading at last year’s Summer Lit Camp.

JPS LEAP (Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress) will help propel Jamestown students forward this summer by improving reading and comprehension skills and, offering enrichment activities during the summertime when traditionally students hit a “summer slide.” JPS LEAP, a new initiative for kindergarten through fourth grades, is spearheaded by the district and provided in partnership with the YWCA, YMCA, the Boys & Girls Club and other area community-based organizations. JPS LEAP will serve multiple purposes but its primary focus is developing literacy skills. JPS will provide bus transportation for all students to and from school and breakfast and lunch at no cost to any participant.

JPS has offered a successful Summer Lit Camp at Ring School for the past three summers, Love School the last two summers, and this past summer, at Fletcher School for students entering first to fourth grades in the district. JPS LEAP will broaden the Summer Lit Camp by serving 600 students, five days a week for eight weeks over the summer at Bush, Love, Fletcher, Ring and Lincoln Elementary Schools from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Certified teachers will deliver literacy intervention four days a week in the mornings, alongside activities from partner organizations. Teachers will work with students in small “like-skilled” groups utilizing research-based teaching strategies and assessments. Teachers will help students develop skills needed to positively progress as readers. On Fridays, there will be no reading intervention; instead students will participate in field trips throughout Chautauqua County. These field trips will enable students to explore the community and participate in applied learning opportunities such as a visit to the Chautauqua Lake Community Sailing Foundation where they will get to learn a little about sailing and sail a boat on Chautauqua Lake.

The district’s lead partners in JPS LEAP will provide additional enrichment activities to students in the both the mornings and afternoons. The Boys & Girls Club of Jamestown will manage Lincoln School, the YWCA will run Fletcher and Bush Schools and the YMCA will manage Ring and Love Schools. The YWCA plans to offer a wide variety of activities including: sports, STEM, reading and Infinity instructors offering art, dance, theater, knitting and drumming. The YWCA is also planning to partner with agencies to offer additional activities such as: Impact Club, Audubon Community Nature Center, Roger Tory Peterson Institute, 4-H and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

“I think it is important to be a part of this initiative because it will offer a menu of offerings to children in a setting that is local and familiar, while engaging children during summer when we know learning loss is occurring,” said Shane Monroe, YWCA’s Director of After School Programming.

The Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys & Girls Club will be the lead agency for Lincoln School. The mornings will be filled with fun and engaging literacy-based activities centered around the Boys & Girls Club curriculum called “Summer Brain Gain,” which is comprised of modules with fun, themed activities for students that are aligned with common core standards. Supported by Disney, each module takes a project-based learning approach: youth engage in a process of learning through discovery, creative expression, group work and a final project or production. As a result, kids develop higher-order thinking skills while staying on track for the coming school year.

The YMCA will be expanding to Love and Ring Schools in the morning an evidence-based program called Power Scholars Academy, which they have conducted at the Eastside YMCA. For six of the eight weeks, scholars will receive 90-minutes of reading and 90-minutes of math instruction lead by certified teachers. The afternoons will include opportunities for both learning enrichment and physical activity that is coordinated with other partnering agencies and their Y Staff including: STEM learning, cooking, creative arts and swimming lessons.

“We are proud to have a role in addressing summer learning loss which some studies have shown accounts for nearly 60 percent of the academic gap seen by eighth grade between economically-challenged students and their non-economically-challenged peers,” said John Barber, YMCA’s Teen Director. “The achievement gap is something the Y is passionate about narrowing and we are thrilled to be partnered with the district to help our most vulnerable scholars have an opportunity to make academic gains this summer.”

If families are interested in enrolling their child in the JPS LEAP program, please talk to your child’s teacher for more information. Families in need of extended care beyond 3 p.m. will have the option to enroll in partner programming from 3 to 5 p.m.