At first glance, summer school at Oquirrh Hills Elementary looks like any other summer school. But look a bit harder and you’ll see that some things are just a little different. This summer school program is actually three programs working seamlessly as one. The first program, the Title I summer school, is a three week academic-based program and is typically staffed by teachers and para-educators. The Boys & Girls Club of South Valley is layered on top of that to support school staff, as well as enrichment activities and programming that lasts for an additional 5 weeks. Lastly, the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant adds transportation, academic field trips, and additional management and teaching support. In addition to these three programs, United Way of Salt Lake has helped find volunteers to chaperone field trips, and community businesses such as the Home Depot, Papa Murphey’s Pizza, and Unified Police Department have rallied to teach students valuable skills.
Aside from reading everyday, staff and faculty focused on teaching “STEAM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Students enjoyed learning about performing arts, physics, visual arts, public service, earth and ecosystems, machines and engineering, health and nutrition, biology and meteorology.
Owen, a student at Oquirrh Hills Elementary, says one of his favorite parts of summer school was going to the Living Planet Aquarium. “There were stingrays and sharks and the penguins are cute and cool.” He also enjoys his math and reading time because, “I like getting a lot right.” But his favorite part was being part of the United Way of Salt Lake’s Summer of Service. He says, “I like passing out walkie-talkies and helping the teachers and bringing things to them.”
It is truly inspiring to see how much this summer school program has been able to provide students in 8 short weeks. Everyone in this school from teachers, para-educators, school coaches, and our afterschool program providers — as well as local businesses in our community — have made this possible by communicating and working collectively together, sharing resources, and building a partnership dedicated to seeing these students succeed! Thank you for LIVING UNITED!