Schoolcraft offers summer school, camp style

By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe

For a second year, Schoolcraft Community Schools has partnered with Next Level Performance, offering the district’s summer school at the Dome Sports Center on US 131. From all indications, this is a positive, successful program.

Two years ago, districts across the state of Michigan began experiencing the effects of the isolation of COVID shutdowns on student achievement and emotional health. The State of Michigan encouraged school districts to partner with community organizations in designing summer school to make these programs as effective as possible, and additional funds for summer programming were available.

Schoolcraft Elementary Principal Matt Webster says, “The district leadership wanted to build a program which was wellness driven, focusing on not only academics, but the whole child, including behavioral, social, emotional, and physical well-being.”

As the district leadership discussed options and locations, they contacted the management team at Next Level Performance at the Dome, and Webster said the response was an immediate “Yes!”

Schoolcraft summer school students attend “Summer Camp” from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. From 8:30 to 10, the focus is on academics. During this time, students meet in the Dome’s multi-purpose room for academic lessons and support. The ratio of students to staff in this setting is 5 to 1, and the district’s team includes highly skilled teachers in reading instruction, led by Amy Desmond, one of Schoolcraft Elementary’s 1st grade teachers. Webster and the district’s social worker also check in with students during this time.

Parents transport students and a snack is provided.

At 10 a.m., the Schoolcraft students join the Dome’s summer camp program. These programs not only focus on a particular sport or activity each week, but the focus is also on character and leadership.

Campers receive sports instruction, lots of play time, and interaction with camp staff.

Last year, 20 Schoolcraft students attended each week during the district’s eight-week Summer Camp. This year, the number is 25 per week.

Webster says the goal is for students to maintain their current academic level through the summer, avoiding any academic loss. As for the other goals for the children — the behavioral, social, emotional and physical well-being?

The smiles on the campers’ faces tell it all.

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