MEDWAY — Superintendent Armand Pires and Community Education Director Karen Niemczyk and Coordinator Josh Thompson are pleased to share the success of the first Summer of Discovery program.
The Summer of Discovery program was a unique back-to-school opportunity for all Medway K-12 students that aimed to support a successful transition into the 2021-2022 school year. The program was available through the Community Education Department which offers year-round learning and enrichment programs that support social, academic and physical growth for children and adults.
The program ran over the course of two weeks, from Aug. 16-19 and Aug. 23-26. Approximately 400 Medway Public Schools students participated in the program which was offered at no cost to families.
Summer of Discovery included creative interactive experiences to help students reconnect with their peers and re-engage with the academic and social tools necessary to support success in the classroom.
Many of the projects, activities and experiences offered during the program focused on getting students outside, connecting with nature, and learning wellness and stress management techniques such as focused breathing and yoga. The program also featured academic activities such as measuring nature and building model treehouses to support mathematics learning, storyboarding like an animator to support literacy skills and learning about superheroes and everyday heroes.
Fifth grade students created ecosystem board games and made their own rules, boards, game cards and dice, and then taught their games to third grade students. This process built on literacy ideas and public speaking skills, as well as allowed students to play safely together which was an experience that couldn’t happen during the pandemic.
All programs were taught by teachers or experts in their respective fields. For example, students walked with a naturalist to identify ecosystems around Medway High School and worked on electrical and liquid nitrogen experiments with a scientist.
“Ninth grade students have been offered a ‘Bridge’ program for the past four years to focus on transitioning to the high school, and that program served as a great model for this large scale K-12 Summer of Discovery program,” Niemczyk said. “The different learning models we experienced last year created challenges for many students, both academically and socially, and Summer of Discovery was created to support these needs. We were happy to offer this program for the first time this year and excited to have had interest from so many students of all ages and their families.”