Leaving elementary school behind can be difficult, but in one district a summer program makes changes smooth for sixth graders entering middle school.

At Livingstone College on a hot summer morning, a group of sixth graders were entering the gym.  Senior Assistant Director of Admissions Tonya Feimster asked if any of them wanted  to attend college.  Several hands went up. “Now, I know you all want to go to college,” Feimster said.  With her encouragement, the rest of the group raised their hands.

Summer Program Makes Changes Smooth for Sixth Graders

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The five week summer program for 118 rising sixth graders is called  “FILM @ 6.”.  The objective of the grant-funded camp is to improve STEM learning and help students adjust from elementary school to middle school.  The transition is often difficult for kids and parents, Program Director Sandy Buechler says.

“The real push is to make the transition as smooth as possible,” she said.

Buechler was hired by the Rowan-Salisbury School System as a temporary program director for their LINKS program. That was when she stumbled across the grant that would allow her to start “FILM @ 6.” After speaking with the school system, Buechler says they decided to merge LINKS with other projects to form FILM @ 6. The program has taken off in its second year, and is now partnered with four middle schools: Corriher-Lipe Middle, North Rowan Middle, Southeast Middle, and China Grove Middle.

Summer Program Makes Changes Smooth for Sixth Graders

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For the past five weeks the kids have learned communications skills, practiced team-building exercises, visited their future middle schools, learned how to open combination locks, gone on field trips to Dan Nicholas Park and Charlotte Motor Speedway and toured local colleges.

“We’re really targeting students who may be struggling with that transition either socially or academically,” Buechler said.

Wednesday “FILM @ 6” visited Livingstone’s Campus and participated in short classes in the Culinary Arts Department. Director of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts Vivian Ray wielded a knife and gave students a lesson in food presentation by letting them make small fruit baskets out of oranges.

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