Atlanta, GA

Purpose Built Schools Atlanta helps close learning gaps with two summer programs

Sophie-Ann McCulloch

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Purpose Built Schools Atlanta

Purpose Built Schools Atlanta is offering a six-week, free, and in-person two summer programs to about 250 elementary school, middle school, and special education students to eliminate barriers of learning gaps felt by students from June 7 to July 2.

Purpose Built Schools will host the first program under a collaboration with Horizons Atlanta. It will give around 150 elementary school and middle school students enough individual attention with one counselor every five campers.

The program will be a blend of high-quality academics with more concern on literacy and STEAM. It also includes arts, fitness, cultural enrichment, field trips, swimming lessons, and confidence-building challenges.

Purpose Built Schools has collaborated with Horizons Atlanta since 2017, and this year’s summer program will highlight literacy skills for students who are struggling in learning during remote studies.

“The summer programs will be crucial for catching up students who have fallen behind due to the pandemic and school closures, this time will allot for direct and small group instruction,” said Tianna Knight, who oversees summer programs for PBSA. “Our summer program is going to be essential to closing the gaps; this full day summer program will also help transition students to a full school day when returning in the Fall.”

Horizon Atlanta has led programs highlighting the opportunity gap between less fortunate students and more fortunate ones for over 50 years. The students come from public schools that still need more academic supports. About 2/3 of their students have a below-grade level at their first time enrolled to Horizon Atlanta. The students are gaining better reading skills, math, swim skills and water confidence, social skills, self-esteem, school-year attendance, and high-school graduation rates throughout the program.

Another program is under the collaboration of Purpose Built Schools with Summer Blast. Summer Blast will give about 100 elementary school, middle school, and special education students a chance to improve their learning from the school due to the pandemic.

This year’s theme is “Community: Who I am? Who Are We? What can we do together?” where the school will give the students a small group reading and math instruction distinguished for each individual’s needs every day in the program.

Mentors will be using engaging texts to amplify students’ vocabulary and comprehension skills. Letter, letter sounds, and sight words will be used as multi-sensory activities to build reading skills. In advance, students will join math activities to strengthen their fact fluency and problem-solving skills.

Another program that the school will give is playing activities that will enrich their social skills, cooperation, and creativity, such as basketball, flag football, robotics, science, and yoga. There will be weekly field trips to areas around Atlanta to help the scholars to connect their learning skills with the real world.

“Summer Blast is committed to welcoming our scholars back to our buildings, classrooms, and face-to-face learning by creating curriculum and learning experiences on and off campus that help to strengthen the student’s understanding and appreciation of their unique identity, develop respectful, caring relationships with members of our camp/school community and work together to design a community that values each individual’s identity and voice,” said Tiffany Smith, director of Summer Blast for elementary students.

Summer Blast’s partnership with CREATE teacher residency program is helping to add more teachers for students. With at least three certified teachers for a classroom, students will have more individualized attention and support in the learning process.

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