Enriching learning opportunities play critical role supporting Covington students during summer

Disclaimer: Kareem Simpson is a member of the Covington Independent School Board and a Covington Partners Board member. 

Just a few months ago—the last day of the first school year post-pandemic—there was a resurgence of a wide range of summer programs for school-age children financed by local and federal funds with a major focus on students who have lost the most during months of remote learning experienced in the last few years. Many public school districts around the country say they are especially concerned about students living in poverty, English-language learners, and students with disabilities. But kids of all ages, from high school to kindergarteners, may have suffered academically and emotionally during months of remote learning.

A 2022 report by the Education Development Center[1] found that programs play a critical role in supporting students during the summer months with enriching learning opportunities.

That’s the agenda at Covington Independent Schools, Northern Kentucky’s largest independent school district.

Holmes Middle School student at Camp Covington summer storytelling program.
Camp Covington, a joint effort between Covington Independent Schools and Covington Partners, goes beyond elementary school. The two organizations have collaborated for several years to provide enriching summer programming for students entering grades K-12 in Covington. This includes programs at all five elementary schools, the middle school, high school, and alternative program.
As summer classes started, Stacie Strotman, Covington Partners Executive Director, said her focus was on the kids and their summer learning. “The comprehensive summer program proves to be an effective method to reverse the summer slide in both reading and math year after year for the students in our programs.

Since 1999, Covington Partners has been working together with Covington Independent Schools to promote positive youth development through collaboration with an early focus on preventing youth substance abuse and violence and expanding scope to include mental and physical health promotion, family strengthening, and staff training and support.

Camp Covington art student experiencing hands-on and engaging art projects while having fun and making new friends.This year, Camp Covington’s high school students had the chance to experience two different one-week camps centering around creative arts and leadership. In addition, the program provided extended credit recovery hours for summer students so that they could obtain class credits during summer. Nearly 60% of students utilizing the extended academic time with certified staff received at least one class credit during this time.

Even before many schools shut their doors for the summer, their administrations had already planned to slowly decrease the amount of funds allocated towards summer programming.

According to a survey released at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, 57% of superintendents reported they will decrease or end summer learning and enrichment offerings currently by September 2024.[2]

But just before Camp Covington opened its doors for the summer, the Covington Independent School Board approved additional funding so that Camp Covington could add researched-based learning pedagogy to its already robust summer programming.  

“Covington Partners’ long-standing partnership with Covington Schools is a model for the region, state and nation,” said Strotman. “We are excited about the additional interventions we added to this year’s program and can’t wait to see how our students will benefit.

For more information about Camp Covington and Covington Partners, visit their website
[1] https://www.edc.org/sites/default/files/uploads/Supporting-Quality-Summer-Learning.pdf
[2] https://www.k12dive.com/news/superintendents-foresee-scaling-back-covid-19-era-investments/631026/
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Read more articles by Kareem A. Simpson.

Raised in the inner city of Covington, Kentucky, Kareem Simpson is an author, innovator, community enthusiast, military veteran, serial entrepreneur, foodie and lover of all things creative.