From 2002-2005, the B-CC cluster operated an intensive academic program the first two weeks of August to help elementary school students who are not meeting grade level standards in reading and mathematics. During the summer of 2004, 277 students participated in the Summer Scholars program. Summer Scholars is modeled on the Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO program) that is offered by MCPS in Title I schools and incorporates many of the beneficial elements of that program. Class size is small, the focus is on language and math, and in most cases the teachers and other students are from the students’ home school. In 2004, the cluster hired an administrator to keep track of data and to ensure that the program ran smoothly.
After the two-week Summer Scholars session, math scores on assessment tests rose appreciably. But the intangible benefits may be even more significant. Students who may not have otherwise picked up a book during the summer reported that they were enthusiastic about reading, excited about getting ready for school, and in many cases, had already formed a bond with their next year’s teacher.
Contributions from the nine schools in the cluster, along with a contribution from the MCPS Community Superintendent, pay for the teachers, the administrator, transportation, training and materials. For the summer of 2004, Somerset’s contribution was $3100, divided equally between the PTA and the Foundation. In 2005, we pledged a total of $5000.