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Grant enables free kids program
The Glynn County School System and Boys and Girls Club are making a difference in the lives and summer of about 100 students in third through sixth grade.

The Summer Matters program, funded through a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, is providing them a summer of fun and learning.

The program ends this week.

Doreen Sigman, project manager with the school system, says Summer Matters is an extension of the district's After-School Matters program, which runs during the school year to enhance classroom lessons.

"Students receive academic help, diverse enrichment choices, and recreational opportunities," she said.

The grant enabled the school system to offer the program to up to 350 students at no cost.

Participating schools - Jane Macon, Risley and Needwood middle schools and Altama and Burroughs-Molette elementary schools - covered a wide range of subjects from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. each weekday.

Jane Macon Middle students had a blockbuster summer, creating their own films and discussing topics such as foreshadowing, Sigman said.

Risley Middle students looked at a difference science theme each week with hands-on labs and interactive notebooks. They even extracted DNA from a strawberry.

Needwood Middle kids worked in groups preparing multi-media presentations related to math concepts and even made their own raps to teach mathematics.

Altama Elementary students had guest storytellers with props and used the Kid Scoop section in The Brunswick News to study everything from volcanoes to parts of speech.

Burroughs-Molette students stepped into the jungle, combining science lessons with math and language skills. They also wrote letters to the African government about conservations concerns.

Though each school covered a different subject, Sigman said some learning exercises were the same for all.

"All schools have a problem based learning emphasis, math fun and summer reading list help and all received The Brunswick News (Kid Scoop) section each Wednesday," she said.

Kid Scoop, which runs in The News on Tuesdays, features puzzles, games and fun things designed around math, reading and other lessons.

When students finish in the classroom, they are bussed to the local Boys and Girls Club for recreation, programs and field trips until 5:30 p.m.

Students also are provided lunch and breakfast.

Offering this program to students is important to the school system, Sigman said. During the summer, students lose a significant chunk of what they'd processed from the previous school year if they don't keep up with it.

The program is helpful in other ways.

"According to the After School Alliance, 15.1 million children take care of themselves (during after school and much of the summer). 21st Century programs choose to be proactive with these hours," Sigman said. "Summer Matters, along with our Boys and Girls Clubs, help students learn new skills, develop relationships with caring adults and prepare them for the future."

The school system offers a similar summer program, free of charge, for high school students called Real Life.

Both programs end Friday, but applications to join the After-School Matters program at the start of the school year are available at participating schools and the Boys and Girls Club.

* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at slundgren@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.



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