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How to help students hope

A polling expert finds students less engaged with school as they get older. Brandon Busteed from Gallup Education says if schools taught to strengths instead of weaknesses, more students would be successful in school and in life.

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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Invest in summer education programs

File under: education, social networks, ministry, literacy, math, science, summer camp

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From: Robyn H., Birmingham, AL

The Children's Fresh Air Farm in Birmingham, Alabama, is a ministry of the Independent Presbyterian Church. It focuses on long-term relationships with children from low-wealth communities who are struggling to meet reading goals in the first and second grade. Through the church's STAIR literacy program, church members tutor students during the school year. Then, during the summertime, children are invited to the farm, a sprawling summer camp where students receive intensive remedial education, as well as breakfast and lunch, outdoor recreation, and enrichment activities.

The camp is free, which allows more families to participate and helps keep students from falling behind academically over summer break. Children get a traditional summer camp experience in addition to academic enrichment. They also get the chance to visit sites around Birmingham, like the McWane Science Center, the Birmingham Art Museum, the Civil Rights Institute, and Jones Valley Urban Farm.

I wrote a story about this camp on our blog, and received a tremendous response from the local community in praise of this project. I think it's a great example of a church congregation building relationships with those they serve and making a real impact in their community.

Students take a nationally normalized test to assess reading and math before and after camp, and they get education and enrichment from licensed, professional teachers. The investment IPC has made in this program is really paying off; I think these children will see the benefits for years to come.


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American RadioWorks |
Photo: Daniel Buchanan

How to help students hope

A polling expert finds students less engaged with school as they get older. Brandon Busteed from Gallup Education says if schools taught to strengths instead of weaknesses, more students would be successful in school and in life.

Recent Posts

  • 10.21.14

    Making it stick

    Why do we remember some things, and forget others? That's what author Peter Brown and psychologists Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel set out to answer in their new book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.
  • 10.14.14

    What teachers need

    Education correspondent Emily Hanford talks with author Elizabeth Green about her new book, Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone).
  • 10.07.14

    Intelligence is achievable and other lessons from The Teacher Wars

    Education correspondent Emily Hanford continues her conversation with Dana Goldstein, author of The Teacher Wars.
  • 10.01.14

    Teaching: The most embattled profession

    Education correspondent Emily Hanford talks with bestselling author Dana Goldstein about her new book, The Teacher Wars.