At each phase of their school lives, students have different needs. Elementary students are building a foundation of basic academics. Middle school students sort through a jumble of social, emotional, and personal issues. Many high schoolers wonder how they’ll get through the college application process.
Every year, Montgomery County IU 23 offers fun, engaging summer camps for nonpublic school students facing those very issues. As a result, students build the confidence to tackle learning and life, and their parents see schooling in a fresh light.
MCIU is Pennsylvania’s second-largest provider of nonpublic school services. In a county rich with high-quality public and nonpublic schools, MCIU directly employs more than 70 teachers, counselors, speech therapists, and psychologists who help nonpublic-school students overcome barriers to learning.
The free, week-long summer camps emerged from the idea of connecting staff with nonpublic students after the school year ends. Topics are offered by grade level:
Jump Start to 1st Grade prepares children for school through fun and games that reinforce early reading and math skills.
Mind Fun, for 4th and 5th graders, offers hands-on activities in comprehension, problem-solving, and other foundational skills of reading and math.
Two leadership camps – separate for middle school girls and boys – immerse students in activities that promote team building and relationship management. At the middle school camps, high school seniors are trained to act as mentors.
Negotiating the College Process guides upcoming seniors through creating admissions strategies, writing the all-important essay, and other facets of college applications. At week’s end, the camp goers – many striving to be the first in their families to attend college – experience actual interviews with local college recruiters.
MCIU Director of Non-Public Services Dr. Kenneth E. Voss sees the impact on students from first day to last, as apprehension gives way to “smiles and beaming faces.” For students and parents, the summer camps provide a new outlook on school and teachers.
“They see that we’re able to take what we do, our skills and our talents from the classroom, and apply it to fun situations that also enable the students to learn,” Voss says. “It’s a summery, fun activity. It’s a much different take on learning.”