Thursday, April 30, 2009

Excellence for All meeting with Mark Roosevelt

Parents meet with PPS' Mark Roosevelt, earlier this week.

The big topic seemed to be summers. New data shows that kids from different economic conditions have different levels of academic progress throghout the summer months. The children from the poorer settings slip in terms of schooling progress, ending the summer behind in benchmarks from the end of the prior school year. Meanwhile, other kids (with more wealth) with stronger enrichment opportunities still continue to grow in those benchmarks throughout the weeks of the summer.

Go figure.

Last summer, for instance, I took my boys to China and we soaked up the Olympics. Here is Grant in a Beijing sports store that simulates the Water Cube. Before we departed for our summer vacation, we spent two hours a day for two months crafting and editing wiki pages on the various athletes and countries with my Olympicpedia Cyber Camp at a commercial computer lab / cafe.

Go figure again.

From Beijing - sports play

The meeting was held at Frick Middle School:


Annette Werner said...

Many of us remember the local library being our main summer enrichment resource, and it worked really well!

In choosing programs beyond that- it would seem wise to look for models in what has worked elsewhere (and for warnings in what has not worked elsewhere). Was any information provided on what other cities have done?

Mark Rauterkus said...

My $.02.

Going to Beijing worked for us as a summer-time vacation. (Want to see more photos?)

One summer we went to an open water swim camp in Canada. That was a blast too.

Let's talk about enrichment.

But, let's not get too carried away as to a model of what other cities do.... Let's model what Literate Olympians do.

To be sure, part of the big push for schools is to talk about things that take our eyes off the ball. PPS has the Pgh Promise to talk about college, out of its main domain. PPS talks about 'head start' -- out of its main domain. PPS talks about summers now, also out of its main domain. PPS is talking about afterschool -- out of the PPS main domain.

PPS needs to educate kids in schools -- its main domain.

Furthermore, our PPS is in Pgh, our reality. Citiparks has been weak for decades. They try to make chicken soup and are only given chicken crap. That is hard to do.

Our county's parks and rec department has worried more about the killing of geese and the harvesting of mineral rights than the coaching and interactions with youths in these beyond school time hours.


Annette Werner said...

From today's PG deputy superintendent Linda Lane also recalls
summers benefiting from the library:

"Growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, Dr. Lane said, she and her sister visited the mobile library one day a week and checked out the maximum number of books allowed -- seven.

"We read a book a day all summer," she said, acknowledging there weren't video games and computers then to compete for her time."

Re looking to other cities- without getting too carried away, it would certainly help to know for ex if 3 school districts tried summer reading camp and found that kids didn't want to get up early in the morning (a nice thing about summer library reading was being able to stay up until the book was finished), or that certain steps were needed to make the program work (such as short travel time).