Originally published on NBC TMJ4 - July 14, 2021
If your middle or high-schooler has an interest in E-sports and coding, music, nature, theater, or math, this Summer they can take part in an educational camp or course for free. All you need is internet access.
A company called Stride Inc. offers online learning all year round and Summer is no exception.
Darren Reed is Stride's Senior Vice President.
"For a long time, we were that thing over there, virtual online. But, I think as technology evolves, as information evolves, as the pandemic showed us, there's a lot of need for innovation in how students experience schools," Reed said.
Reed feels the pandemic exacerbated the summer slide. He says these opportunities can be for kids who prefer a virtual platform.
"Each year, each summer, separate from COVID, learning gaps or learning fall-offs happen for students. It's just a natural occurrence," he said.
Lynda Kohler, President and CEO of Milwaukee's SHARP Literacy says her non-profit's in-person summer learning programs have been popular.
The educational organization is serving more than 800 students at 27 elementary schools and community centers in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties.
Kohler said summer spots for the STEAM-based programs went quickly.
"What they went through with the last year, with the learning disruptions, learning from home and some kids have been in school, it's just trying to get back to some normalcy," Kohler said.
And that means focusing on social-emotional learning -- something Kohler feels should be a priority.
"It's going to be a long road and we can't expect everything to be perfect. Get them excited, how special they are, really celebrate the little successes," Kohler said.
Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction, or DPI, promotes summer learning in any form. If you aren't signed up for activities this summer, DPI has family guides on its website. They're similar to lesson plans for subjects like art, dance, math, reading, and more.
To learn more about available Stride Inc. summer camps, visit K12's Summer Camp Registration.