COVID-19 may have closed school buildings, but that didn’t stop Friends at Milton Elementary coordinators from offering a free virtual summer enrichment program to interested students.
FAME coordinators Kacie Goins and Brittany Bailey said about 50 students a day participated in the six-week remote program that offered daily grade-level math lessons and IRLA color-leveled reading lessons.
“IRLA is our district’s reading curriculum,” Goins said. “It is a reading tool that works with every student at every reading level in English and Spanish.”
Goins said IRLA delivers specific and actionable data that tells the teacher where a student is, why, and the sequence of skills and behaviors needed to accelerate reading growth. Teachers posted pre-recorded video lessons for students to watch on their own time each day.
Milton Elementary teachers conducted live clubs focusing on cooking, Zumba, science and crafts via Zoom every morning.
“Typically, students celebrate the end of FAME with a day at the water park, but due to the current restrictions, it was not able to happen,” Goins said. “Instead, FAME staffers drove around to students' homes delivering FAME goodies, yard signs, and Midway movie gift cards to students that met the attendance requirements.”
In a typical summer, Goins said, about 100-120 students attend the FAME summer program.
“However, we were very thankful for the amount of students that participated due to the online circumstances,” Goins said. “Even clubs that needed materials such as arts and crafts were provided in a bin outside MES for parents to pick up if they chose to.”
In spring 2019, FAME was awarded a state grant of $320,000 a year for up to five years, for a total of $1.6 million to expand summer and after-school programs and create partnerships with Milton Public Library and Milton Theatre.
FAME provides enrichment activities to improve the academic success of students from Title I schools. Schools are designated as Title I based on the percentage of students who come from low-income families.