As the school year ended with remote learning and the focus turned to summer programming, two big questions emerged for Covington Independent Public Schools: How does the district provide a virtual summer program and will students attend after all the weeks of online learning?
After the first week of the summer program, dubbed “Camp Covington,” those questions were answered with exclamation marks.
More than 360 students registered for the program and enrollment grows daily with families participating in activities through the Camp Covington website. Activities for students include academic and enrichment projects, such as gardening, cooking, reading and learning sign language. In addition, students designed roller coasters, made planes and completed scavenger hunts.
The first virtual summer program in the school system has been a huge success.
“The activities have been so fun,’’ said Katrina Mitchell, whose children Jovon and Jay’vion attend Ninth District Elementary School. “So glad I signed the boys up.”
Indeed, the Camp Covington virtual summer program is a comprehensive and project-based approach to ensure learning does not stop during the summer months for Covington students. For the past 50 years, Covington has offered a summer learning program. The focus for several years has been to not only eliminate but to reverse the summer slide. National studies have shown that students lose significant knowledge in reading and math over summer break, which tends to have a snowball effect as they experience subsequent skill loss each year. Since 2012, Covington has seen an increase in math and reading standardized test scores from spring to fall of students attending the summer program on a regular basis.
The Covington Board of Education supported the virtual program by committing $25,000 to it. The two-week program started on July 6. Supply kits that included materials needed for all activities and a program workbook were delivered to each student registered for the program.
“When we found out that we would not be able to offer in-person programming, we knew for certain that we wanted to serve as many students as possible and provide them with a high-quality program they could engage in from their own homes,” said Ashley McClure, director of Camp Covington.
The program served elementary and middle school students. It included activities from several community partners, including the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, the Carnegie, and the Covington branch of the Kenton County Public Library.
All the activities are also available through the Camp Covington website, which features bonus activities, links to projects from partners such as Baker Hunt Art and Cultural Center and the Cincinnati Zoo, supplemental videos that correspond to the majority of Camp Covington activities, and more than 30 read aloud videos created by district staff.
Seventh-grader Royce Mount has nothing but praise for the program.
”It’s really fun because it lets you create something that is fun, continuously.”