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Elementary Summer STREAM
Elementary Summer STREAM
Posted on 07/13/2022
Elementary Summer STREAM

Does the thought of summer school sound like a chore? Then you likely have not experienced BTCS Summer STREAM Camp! Just ask one of the nearly 300 students who attended camp at Fairmount Elementary School during the month of June.

As promised, learning took center stage! Math and English language arts were taught in small groups to target specific student learning needs. But no matter the skill being taught, the focus was engagement! During lessons, campers were challenged to create marble road paths, domino mazes, rockets, teepees from tortillas and straws, and much more. Based on student feedback, one of the most popular activities was programming Indy car robots! In fourth grade, students even designed their own planets and presented it as their final project.

“The best thing about the engineering design process is that it is all trial-and-error,” said Tracy Easterling, BTCS extended learning coordinator. “But students never give up. They keep experimenting. That’s where real learning takes place.”

This year’s Summer STREAM Camp was further enhanced using feedback from last year’s campers. Art classes were added to the 2022 STREAM rotation based on 2021 student survey results, and the classes did not disappoint. Art and PE were two of the most popular classes on this year’s student surveys. Campers mentioned making a 3D aquarium and other fun projects. One student even commented that art “de-stresses me.” Pickleball was a big “hit” in PE classes. Those who participate in the LEAPs after-school program during the school year will be excited to learn that pickleball will be added this year.

Ms. Easterling said that last year’s students also requested more books to take home to help build their home libraries. Through a combined partnership with Barnes & Noble, the BTCS Book Bus, and the Fairmount Library, those in the elementary program this year received a total of ten books. Three of the books students chose during a field trip to Barnes & Noble are from their Wit & Wisdom reading list for next school year.

While a field trip to Africa may not have been in this year’s summer school budget, a surprise visitor arrived from Kenya to share the life and culture of his home country. Archadius Odundo, a successful businessman in Kenya and former member of the country’s national rugby team, became homeless at a very young age and subsequently grew up in a Kenyan orphanage. Students were fascinated to learn how the educational system in Kenya differs from the United States and inspired by what Archadius overcame to achieve his dreams.

The fun did not end at 3 p.m. for those enrolled in the afterschool mini camp. In addition to the numerous on-site extended learning activities, STREAM campers traveled throughout the community to Appalachian Caverns, Coopers Gem Mine, Putt-Putt Fun Center, Just Jump, Bristol Public Library, Haynesfield Pool, and Bristol’s own Caterpillar Crawl. Tennessee High School coaches Preston Roberts (baseball) and Jenn Testa (softball) also treated students in grades two through five to baseball and softball clinics. Who knows what future careers or athletic dreams were inspired along the way?

“This has been a great opportunity and experience,” one parent said. “Every day my kiddos had great stories to tell about their activities during the day with excitement. The staff was awesome from the principal to the resource officer.”

Another parent stated, “It helped my child to develop new friendships across the school system. This will be helpful when she attends TMS in a year. She is very social and so the time spent with other children was so helpful to her. She thoroughly enjoys school and counts down the days until it starts again. STREAM Camp was something she looked forward to, and she never wanted to miss.”

We would like to say a special thanks to all who contributed to this year’s Summer STREAM Camp and especially to the following:

  • BTCS Book Bus
  • BTCS School Nutrition
  • Holston Bus Company
  • Project On Track (Niswonger Foundation)
  • SCORE (State Collaborative on Reforming Education)
  • Tennessee High School Digital Arts
  • TERA (Tennessee Education Research Alliance at Vanderbilt University)
  • TN All Corps
  • TNTP
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