They thought they woudn’t be able to offer much of a program this summer, but then an opportunity came about to have music and theater revive summer school.
Because of budget cutbacks, teachers at Sully and Guilford elementary schools thought they wouldn’t be able to provide much of a summer program. Then, help suddenly appeared.
In a bold and creative move, Briar Woods High School student Hannah Ratcliffe put together the help of six of her friends and a Guilford Elementary teacher and offered to put on a two week crash course in theater with a performance of “Seussical”.
Then another Briar Woods student, Lauren Mooney, found three other high school students to provide free piano and guitar lessons during the summer school program.
“All this stuff came together to give these kids opportunities they wouldn’t normally have,” said Erik Kittelson, principal of the summer school program at Sully Elementary.
Summer school is one of several programs the Loudoun County School Board cut, or scaled down, as it adopted its $912 million operating budget for FY15. That’s meant the number of students served through summer school was almost cut in half, according to figures from the office of Pupil Services.
Because Sully and Guilford are Title 1 schools they received additional federal funding to put on a summer program, which they’re calling STEM Camp, for the students who most need remediation in the summer. The program is offered for four weeks instead of three and three hours a day instead of four.
But the kids didn’t seem to notice.
“The kids have been so excited,” Sully kindergarten teacher Jessica Pineda said. “When we’re walking by and they hear a student on the piano they’ll ask, ‘when is it my turn?’”