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New summer program keeps kids learning when school is out

  |   Kristen B. Morales   |   Permalink   |   News Release,   Service and Community

Parents of elementary and middle school students concerned about "summer slide" now have one more way to counter its effects thanks to a new initiative between the University of Georgia and the Clarke County School District.

Camp DIVE (Discover, Inquire, Voice and Explore) is a program that combines faculty-led classes and assistance from UGA students with programs for local children. It runs June 6-July 1 with a variety of classes for rising kindergarteners through eighth-graders. Programming runs 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays–Thursdays at Clarke Middle School, with all-day field trips each Friday. Depending on the grade level, classes cover topics such as art, food, robots and history. Daily activities also help reinforce literacy, and local nonprofit groups will lead afternoon programming.

The summer program has limited enrollment and is free and open to Clarke County School district students. Breakfast and lunch will be provided by the Clarke County School District.

Janna Dresden, a clinical associate professor in the UGA College of Education and director of the Office of School Engagement, said this is an opportunity for faculty to create lessons that focus on problem-based learning and other cutting-edge teaching strategies. It's also a chance for UGA students—some of whom are teacher-candidates, but others who simply want to work with kids during the summer—to learn from faculty, gaining either course or volunteer credit.

"We're giving our students other options to experience hands-on education with kids," she said. "And it gives people an idea of how education can be when they're not encumbered by tests."

Mark Tavernier, Clarke County Schools' associate superintendent for instructional services and school performance, said the opportunity for students to take classes delving into topics such as robots and makerspaces, how our food is produced or how photography and performance can lead to social change is one more way to add to students' overall learning experience.

"I am excited that we can provide this innovative approach and an additional summer learning opportunity to our students," he said. "This program will offer many opportunities for our students to have experiences that they would not normally have during the school year while extending our year-long focus on developing literacy skills across content and interest areas."

Camp DIVE is one more way the UGA College of Education is enhancing its partnership with the Clarke County School District, which already includes the Professional Development School District, which embeds faculty and UGA students in classrooms throughout the county, and the Experience UGA partnership, which brings students to the UGA campus for a new experience every school year.

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