HomeNewsSummer camps address students’ learning loss

Summer camps address students’ learning loss

DENMARK – School might’ve been officially out for the summer, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t learning going on in some of the buildings of Jackson-Madison County Schools in June.

Some of the schools in JMCSS including most elementary schools hosted summer learning camps throughout the month of June.

Denmark Elementary was one of those schools.

About 86 students from Denmark took advantage of the summer learning camp opportunity that was available to all students in JMCSS from kindergarten through seventh grade.

While not every school hosted a camp, students at the schools that didn’t were given the option to attend a camp at another school with transportation provided.

“Most of our students here at Denmark are in kindergarten and third grade,” said Elizabeth Pickens, who’s been teaching fourth grade at Denmark for 15 years and is one of the on-site administrators for the camp.

Some of the third-graders going through the camp are doing so with the intent of moving on to fourth grade because of a new state law requiring third-graders who didn’t pass the TCAP to be held back a grade unless they take the test again and pass.

Summer learning camp is where they’re able to go through learning for four more weeks in preparation for the retaking of that test.

“We’re spending some time on it and then taking the test this final week of camp,” Pickens said during an interview on Tuesday.

Classes at the camp look similar to classes during the school year.

First-grade teacher Jennifer Hilton worked with her campers that morning on learning color combinations and what colors are created by mixing two colors together. Pickens said Hilton’s class also used different ways to learn new vocabulary words by fishing for them in a vocabulary fish pond in their classroom.

On the other end of the school, Stephanie Cole, who teaches second grade at Denmark, was working with older students in a coding class.

A board in the room had information about how important coding is now and will continue to be as the students grow and continue their education. It said about 10% of schools teach coding, and in 2024, there will be more than a million programming jobs unfilled in the country.

“And that figure of one in 10 schools teaching drops here in West Tennessee,” Pickens said. “Once you get out of JMCSS schools, there aren’t many other schools in this area between here and Memphis that teach it.

“So this is a crucial part of education that JMCSS offers that not a lot of others do.”

A typical day of camp begins at 8 a.m. with breakfast and ends at 3 p.m., close to a typical school day. There’s lunchtime and recess, and plans for Thursday’s final day of camp included an afternoon outside for water fun.

“We want them learning, but we want them to have fun and enjoy the experience while they’re here,” Pickens said. “And our teachers here are as good as anyone at accomplishing that goal.

“So while the kids are having fun, they’re hopefully not suffering the learning loss that typically comes with being out of school for more than two months. We get them four more weeks of education and training here, which hopefully actually increases the learning and not just keep them from losing what they’ve already learned.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost,news

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