Student Achievement

News from Out-of-School: A Creative Mix

By Mary-Ellen Phelps Deily — July 16, 2010 1 min read
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The theme of this week’s news of summer and after-school learning is creativity—in terms of the kinds of programs out there, where and how they’re being run, and the lengths to which people will go to fund them.

First off, The Washington Post recently covered an upbeat after-school fundraiser that played off a World Cup theme. On a more serious note, however, this article and several others point out the budget troubles many groups face this year.

In this Associated Press piece, public libraries in the Chicago area are taking over as summer activity centers for kids who don’t have ready access to summer camp or other supervised activities. Register for free on to read the whole piece. Here’s an excerpt:

In Chicago neighborhoods like Austin and Englewood and suburban communities such as Chicago Heights and Zion, many libraries serve as makeshift summer camps. They're a place where parents with limited means leave their kids for part of the day, and where children escape the streets."

The library-and-Chicago-area theme is at the heart of this piece from the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., as well. In this case, parents have decided to use a public library to hold “summer classes” in the wake of a decision to end the year-round schedule of a local elementary school.

Here’s something for younger summer campers. My Education Week colleague Lisa Fine reports in her Early Years blog about a five-week camp to prepare youngsters who will be starting kindergarten in the fall.

And, finally, here’s a good read from The Baltimore Sun about a program designed to help kids learn “critical need” languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Persian, Turkish, Swahili and Urdu. Money for the program comes from the federal government’s STARTALK program, which apparently is short for “start talking.”

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Students say they have already reaped benefits from the program. Desiree Sojourner, 16, from Clarksville, said she is participating in the program's Hindi class because she is taking a trip to India next summer. 'I figure I'd learn about the culture and the language, so I could understand a little more than I would if I was just going,' she said. Maddy Lafuse, 17, of Columbia is a returning STARTALK student who has used the Arabic she's learned when reading packaging of food in Asian supermarkets."

That’s all for now. Hope these stories prove enlightening or at the least entertaining. More soon.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Beyond School blog.