On this particular day during the science class, Jackie Parker had a student assist her as they experimented with twisting rope and discovering how that affects its strength. Every day of the Academy during science, the students participated in an experiment of some sort. PHOTO: MARLENE DESCHLER/SPRING GROVE HERALD
On this particular day during the science class, Jackie Parker had a student assist her as they experimented with twisting rope and discovering how that affects its strength. Every day of the Academy during science, the students participated in an experiment of some sort. PHOTO: MARLENE DESCHLER/SPRING GROVE HERALD
Summer is a busy and fun time of year for children as they swim, play with friends, stay up late to star gaze, go on vacations, and just enjoy being a kid. Reading, math, and science may not be top of their minds even when these things surround them in their everyday life. Spring Grove Public School offered an enrichment program — Lions Academy —  this summer to help students keep these skills in top shape during their summer break.
The Academy was for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. It began June 30 and ran through July 24 for four days each week from 8:30 a.m. to11:30 a.m. giving the students plenty of time in their day to swim and do other summer activities. One hundred and one students registered with an average attendance of about 80 due to conflicts with baseball, swimming lessons, vacations, etc.
“We’ve been getting lots of very positive comments from parents,” commented Spring Grove School superintendent, Rachel Udstuen. “They are happy to have their children working on math, science, and reading during the summer. And they’ve said that their children are excited to go and have been looking forward to each day.”
With the number of students registered, the school was able to offer free breakfast and lunch to the participants. Breakfast was offered prior to the start of the day and lunch was offered after the Academy ended. Head cook, Janet Sand, prepped, cooked, and served the meals to the students.
During their time at the Academy, the students studied reading and writing with teacher Deb Sullivan, math with teacher Chris Deck, and science with teacher Jackie Sullivan. They rotated through these different subjects every day. The students were divided into three groups: kindergarten, first and second grade, and third through sixth grade.
“It was fun to see the students interacting with the teachers in a less formal and more relaxed way,” remarked Udstuen. “It was also great to see teachers developing relationships with the students during this summer program.”
This was the first year for the Lions Academy and plans are to continue it again next year. The idea for an enrichment program for all students to participate in came from current teachers that have previously taught in other districts where similar programs existed and worked well.
“It will be interesting to look at the data this fall and see how this Academy affected students and the ‘summer slide’ that usually happens when students have three months off from school,” added Udstuen.
The final day of the Academy was a special field trip to La Crosse where the students visited and toured the TV-19 facility, the La Crosse Regional Airport and a hanger, and the Kids Coulee Play area. A sack lunch was provided by the school for all of the students on the field trip as their day was extended a little longer than their normal Academy day.