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JPS Summer Programs Now Fully Funded

A $10,000 commitment from the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County has fully funded the Jamestown Public Schools’ Summer LEAP program.

Now, Dr. Kevin Whitaker, district superintendent, wants as many district residents as possible to attend the program.

“That brings it over the top,” Whitaker said after Tuesday’s school board meeting. “That makes us fully funded. What we did with that program and all of our summer programs is we added some of the American Rescue Plan, the federal money, to expand that program, double it in size and in some cases triple it in size. So what we needed was all of the original money would go toward the normal summer program and all of the American Rescue Plan monies from the feds in order to expand it.”

In the LEAP program’s first year, children read an average of 845 minutes and averaged 28 new sight words gained. Of the 396 students who participated, 89% did not see any loss of reading skills while 81% of parents said their child’s reading improved over the summer.

The LEAP program was offered again in 2020 through all five Jamestown elementary schools.

This year, LEAP will be expanded to include students entering fifth and sixth grades who will join the program at either Ring or Fletcher elementary schools. The extended summer learning day camp is offered Monday through Friday from July 6 to Aug. 220 and will include breakfast, lunch, reading intervention, virtual field trips and engaging activities such as: the exploration of nature, art and craft projects, and games.

New this year is JPS JUMP for students entering seventh and eighth grades Monday through Thursday from July 6 to Aug. 20 at all three district middle schools. JUMP will provide breakfast, lunch, reading and math intervention, while students work on project-based learning. Each project will have students gain knowledge and skills by working to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge.

JHS BRIDGE, for students entering ninth grade, is a summer transition program offered Monday through Wednesday weekly from July 12 to Aug. 14. BRIDGE will provide students with sessions that support their academic, social and emotional transition to JHS. During the one week program, students will have the opportunity to not only tour JHS and explore extracurricular activities, but also work with teachers on study habits and skills that are necessary as they transition to the rigor of high school.

“We have more staff,” Whitaker said about this summer’s programs. “We have more availability. Now, what I am most worried about, is people won’t take advantage of it. We’ve created a system by which we can get additional learning in place over the summer to address the learning loss that we suffered as a result of the pandemic. I just want to make sure that people are out there saying, ‘Hey, let’s go do this. Let’s participate. Let’s make sure we get out kids back up to speed before next year.’ It’s a great opportunity right in front of us that’s being offered by the school district.”

There is no charge to families for any of the programs.

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