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How Students Remember School During the Summer – The Tri-City Record

Save the Children provides time to celebrate academic achievements during free time

Save the Children, a nationwide program dedicated to children’s health and safety, is partnering with multiple San Juan County schools to provide families with summer academic support. (Alx Lee/Tri-City Record)

While summer means a break from school, students can be susceptible to a phenomenon known as the “summer slump,” in Bloomfield, the district-wide summer school program and Save the Children are working to change that.

“Summer slump refers to the learning loss that some students experience when they are not in school,” said Blanco Elementary Principal Lynda Spencer. “Many students show academic regression due to summer break if they are not reading and staying active.”

The five-week summer program offered at Central Primary School focuses on reading, math and science for students in grades 1 to 6.

Spencer said it’s a method used by the Bloomfield district to prevent students from further declining in their skills and to help them remember material they learned in the previous school year.

According to Spencer, assessment data on reading and math skills collected before and after the summer program showed regression among students who did not participate in the program.

Math and reading kits were distributed to families in the Central Consolidated School District to promote kindergarten readiness. The kits include a six-week activity guide. (Alx Lee/Tri-City Record)

Save the Children has a facility in the Bloomfield district that helps families meet their needs, said senior fellow Nicole Tsinigine.

The national organization collaborated to provide incentives and kits to help students in the region develop competencies in reading, writing and math.

Kits containing a six-week lesson plan and instructions were distributed to families in the Central Consolidated School District.

“They were really excited about the little foam shapes and they are thrilled with the counters,” said Yaha Aguilera, state director.

Aguilera said teachers also were thrilled with the kits and expressed interest in continuing the program next school year.

The Summer Spark program, launched in 2023, provides end-of-summer school activities. Last summer, it was a mural painted on the east wall of Kare Drug in Bloomfield.

“We wanted to bring the entire community together in our first year, so I wanted everyone to get to know us, and I also wanted us to focus on literacy education,” Aguilera said.

This summer, students had the opportunity to take part in outdoor activities, including painting and math games.

The Bloomfield High School football and soccer teams as well as cheerleaders helped out on the day.

“That’s what I love about Bloomfield – the involvement of the entire community,” Aguilera said.

A student paints a shield with a horned toad to represent protection for children. The shields were part of Central Primary School’s Summer Spark program, which celebrated the end of summer school. (Courtesy of Yaha Aguilera)

A student rolls clay during Summer Spark, which allowed students at Bloomfield Central Primary School to participate in outdoor activities at the end of the summer. (Courtesy of Yaha Aguilera)

Students play a math-based game during Summer Spark celebrations following the end of the summer school program at Central Primary School in Bloomfield. (Courtesy of Yaha Aguilera)

Students painted a shield with a horned toad and the words “protection, health and harmony.”

“This year we wanted to make sure kids are protected,” Aguilera said.

As Tsinigine explained, the horned toad is a sacred creature in Diné culture, and the organization wanted to include a symbol of child protection on the shield paintings.

“Kids who go to the summer program are usually behind, so they’re already working during the summer,” Aguilera said. “So the last day is like a celebration of the end of summer, so they get to play outside, do something fun, and they’re excited about it.”

She added that as part of the summer school program, schools are provided with materials such as LEGO toys and books.

“These incentives increase student attendance and motivate them to behave positively,” Spencer said.

Aguilera said last year’s students reminisced about the team and said goodbye to her that day, saying, “See you in the summer.”

Students paint with stencils during the Summer Spark celebration following the conclusion of the summer school program at Central Primary School. (Courtesy of Yaha Aguilera)