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SOE Summer Camps Help Children Avoid “Summer Slide”

Drexel University School of Education

Drexel University School of Education Literacy Camp 2019

September 21, 2019

The summer season is usually a time to kick back and relax, but not at Drexel where the School of Education was as busy as ever! Students, faculty, and staff ran several educational camps, campus workshops, and participated in community days in the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood.

At the School of Education’s annual Literacy Camp, 22 children sharpened their reading skills through fun, interactive activities led by School of Education students and faculty. The camp ran for 4 weeks at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships and featured lots of fun activities like pajama dress up days, art stations, outdoor games, and special guests who stopped by to read to the campers, including Philadelphia Chief Education Officer Otis Hackney.

Behind the scenes, site director Hayden O’Rourke (BS in Education ’19) organized a team of students eager to help out! Undergraduate students Kinu Aneja (class of ’21) and Emily Wilson (class of ’20) worked one on one with campers, Alex Coleman (class of ’20) served as a week 3 and 4 instructor, Gabby Pontone (class of ’21) ran arts activities that included puppet making and creating a skyline out of construction paper, and recent graduate Trey Doyle (BS in Education ’19) organized outdoor games to give the campers a break from all the reading.

The campers were also well fed each day thanks to a generous donation of meals from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and they got to go home with new books thanks to a donation from the Read By 4th Campaign.

The camp also served as a capstone project for School of Education graduate students who applied the lessons learned from their graduate courses by serving as camp instructors. A big thank you to instructors Lisa Laska, Heather Werner, Fiona Wilson, Eileen Hovey, and Sara Kraus!

At the same time as the Literacy Camp, other students from across Philadelphia were avoiding the dreaded “summer slide” by participating in SOE’s Math Corps camp. Through a partnership with Wayne State University and support from a grant from the National Science Foundation, 30 rising 8th grade students and 15 rising 9th grade students brushed up on various concepts in math. They were supported by more than two dozen high school students who served as teaching assistants. Through one-on-one learning activities, the rising 8th and 9th graders got a grasp for what math concepts they may experience in upcoming math courses at school, while their high-school-age teaching assistants improved their mastery of various mathematics subjects by teaching their peers.

In addition to classroom lessons, Math Corps students also got to spend their afternoons participating in other STEM activities like robotics, virtual reality, and chess! They also spent every Thursday outside for “Family Meal Days” with recreational activities out on the Korman Quad.

The camp was so much fun, even local television station NBC 10 dropped by to see what we were up to! Shout out to all of the DragonsTeach students, SOE PhD and undergraduate students, and many other volunteers who made this year’s camp possible!

SOE’s Literacy and Math Corps camps are just two of the many camps run throughout the summer. School of Education students and faculty also ran a space camp, a sports science camp, a Continuing STEM Education Academy and more! These camps and learning activities are all part of the School of Education’s commitment to serving families in the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood. We encourage you to visit the Promise Neighborhood page to see descriptions of all the activities run by the School of Education throughout the neighborhood.

Speaking of the Promise Neighborhood, volunteers from the School of Education hosted STEM activities at community days in Mill Creek and other neighborhoods. Community Days in the Promise Neighborhood are special events when neighbors and families gather outside for a day of fun activities, food, and music in a safe environment. Kids who stopped by the School of Education’s STEM table got to do mini science experiments and see first-hand how science can be fun, even in the summer!