CMSD Students Start The 'Summer Learning Experience'

Students cutting paper at Adlai Stevenson School in Cleveland.
Young students get hands-on with their art project during day one of Cleveland Metropolitan School District's "Summer Learning Experience." [Jenny Hamel / ideastream]
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The first session of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s “Summer Learning Experience” kicked off Monday, with about 6,500 CMSD students already enrolled.

A good start, but the district is hoping more even students will participate.

What CMSD students will be involved in for the next four weeks is well beyond a “traditional summer school,” according to Adlai Stevenson School site coordinator Joseph Marginian.

“We have the first part of the day, which is more traditional learning. We have the second part of the day, which is project-based learning- which is still academic, but a lot more fun. And then we have this third part of the day, which is a summer camp feel-and it's a lot of fun,” Marginian said.

Despite the open spaces available in the first of two sessions aimed at recovering some of the material and enthusiasm for learning after more than a year of virtual pandemic learning, several CMSD “Summer Learning Experience” sites reached maximum capacity by the starting day, including William Rainey Harper School, Harvey Rice Wraparound School and the Garfield School.

Gary Galbreath is volunteering at the Adlai Stevenson school "Summer Learning Experience" site, along with other Cleveland Play House members.  [Jenny Hamel / ideastream] 

Adlai Stevenson also reached enrollment capacity for the first session, serving about 200 kindergarten through third graders. 

Volunteers from the Cleveland Play House are on-site at schools, guiding students through activities. In one Adlai Stevenson classroom, a volunteer went over the ground rules that include students moving around the room, repeating his instructions with their “stage voices.”

For the summer session at Adlai Stevenson, teacher Kardi Hunt, who typically teaches second grade, is leading students who were in kindergarten during the past year. The students have a “vigorous learning plan,” according to Hunt, that includes phonics, reading with open-ended questions and scholastic English and math games.

On the first day, her young students were just happy to be in the building again, Hunt said.

“They already talk a lot, but there's even more talk, like they missed that social piece,” she said. “They were so happy, saying ‘Oh, we love this class! We love the school!’ That’s all they kept saying.”

Teacher Kardi Hunt  is leading a group of rising 1st graders during the summer session at Adlai Stevenson. "They're so happy to be here," according to Hunt. [Jenny Hamel/ ideastream]

Parent Sirbina McCargo is appreciative CMSD offered free summer programming, adding that her son was eager to register after a year of struggling with remote learning.

“We had a difficult time actually learning this year, due to me working during the day,” she said. “And he felt like he didn't learn anything on a computer. He said he wanted to try summer school to see if he can go back and learn what he had missed.”

The deadline to register for the first of two four-week sessions is Monday, and beyond that, CMSD students are being encouraged to apply for the second session, which begins in July.

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