PAULDING — A collaboration between Paulding Exempted Village Schools (PEVS) and Western Buckeye Educational Service Center (WBESC) has led to the initiative Panthers SOAR (Schools Out Academic Recreation), a summer camp and individual tutoring opportunities for PEVS students in grades K-8.
Ken Amstutz, PEVS superintendent, explained camp and tutoring are for students who need extra help, or who may have fallen behind due to the pandemic.
“We are using ESSER II and III funds we received (from the federal government) to help students recover learning loss and to expand upon what we are already doing for kids,” said Amstutz. “A big part of this comes down to the time students were out of school, even though we as a school district were off a shorter time than many others. However, it became essential that we offer some extended learning for our kids.
“We don’t know how long these funds will last, but we will use them for summer programming, summer tutoring and after-school tutoring (beginning in the fall),” added Amstutz.
Invitations for summer camp have been sent out to more than 80 students at Paulding Elementary, Oakwood Elementary and Paulding Middle School. The camp will take place June 1-11 from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the former Parc Lane Training Center, located at 900 Fairgrounds Drive, Paulding.
Meanwhile, individual tutoring will take place on Tuesdays in July, with a second summer camp a possibility Aug. 2-6.
According to Jan Kohart and Ashley Shepherd, program coordinators at WBESC, Panthers SOAR will focus on literacy, math and mentoring activities, with each student receiving breakfast, a snack and lunch. Transportation will be provided, with each participating student picked up and dropped off at home.
“We’re excited about summer camp, we have certified staff on board, and as Mr. Amstutz said, it is a camp, but there will be activities to make it fun,” said Kohart. “We will be working with Paulding Soil & Water Conservation for part of the camp, and games and fitness will also be included.”
Said Shepherd: “The good news is, we’ve done similar summer camps for the 21st Century program, so that’s what led Mr. Amstutz to contact the ESC. We’ve done summer camps for years, and so we’ve got experience pulling together the applications, the staff, the schedule and programming. We’ve established many partnerships ... it’s truly plug-and-play.”
Said Amstutz: “When I contacted them, I wanted them to know I wanted to pattern this after the 21st Century program. Although we no longer have the 21st Century Grant, we know what good came from that, so I felt like working with the ESC on a similar program would be a good fit.”
Students at camp will be broken down into the following groups: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, with activities planned for each of those ages groups.
A tentative schedule includes: 8:30 a.m., arrival/breakfast; 8:50-9:20 a.m., groups meet to discuss and write about the word and question of the day; 9:20-10:05 a.m., first group activity; 10:05-10:15 a.m., snack time; 10:15-11 a.m., second group activity; 11:05-11:50 a.m., third group activity; 11:50 a.m.-12:15 p.m., cooperative game/fitness activity; 12:15-12:30 p.m., wrap up and hand washing; and 12:30-1 p.m., lunch and dismissal.
In addition, the 7 Mindsets curriculum, which PEVS started using this year, will be a daily component of the summer camp(s).
“When the groups rotate to each of the activities, the lessons will be differentiated according to the age group,” said Shepherd. “It’s great to have certified staff on board, because they are experts in their respective areas (English/language arts, math, science, art).”
Added Kohart: “We are blessed that we had a lot of interest from staff who wanted to be a part of this program.”
Said Amstutz: “SOAR is geared toward meeting kids where they’re at, with missing the last nine weeks last year, and with virtual students not having as many educational opportunities this year, we are doing this to bring them up to speed as much as possible, so next year they can hit the road running. We’ve learned that students, especially younger students, do much better when they have that personal interaction with teachers and other students.”
To learn more about Panthers SOAR, contact Kohart at 419-399-4711, ext. 206, or send an email to email@example.com.