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Member Kudos: Jump Start Program at Lawton Elementary, Lawton Community Schools

2015 Education Excellence Award Recipient

DashBoard, July 22, 2015

The 20 recipients of the 2015 MASB/SET SEG Foundation Education Excellence Awards are some of the greatest examples of unique and innovative public school programs in the state of Michigan. Over the next few months, MASB will share the details of each program from their applications, presented in alphabetical order by district. This week we highlight the Jump Start Program at Lawton Elementary in Lawton Community Schools.

Description: The Lawton Elementary Jump Start Program was created to help combat “summer slide” or a loss in academic gains that often occurs over the summer months. The Jump Start Program was implemented in summer 2012, and has been able to continue servicing 40-60 students each summer. The program best serves students toward the end of the summer to give them a “jump start" on the upcoming year.

Jump Start runs for four weeks and students are asked to attend Monday through Thursday. Two certified teachers, along with three paraprofessionals, implement researched-based reading and math strategies to help students become more efficient in the areas of reading and mathematics.

Funding/Resources: More than 60 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Through the Jump Start Program, the school is not only able to service students academically, but able to give them a meal each day as well as a snack. The program utilizes two certified teachers who work with the upper elementary students, while highly qualified paraprofessionals implement researched programs such as Reading Mastery and Road to the Code to help lower elementary students make reading gains.

A portion of Title I funds are delegated to fund this program. Because Lawton utilizes a combination of certified teachers and paraprofessionals, they are able to create small learning groups for more specific academic attention for students. Students attend in the mornings to stretch the funds, so that they can come in four days a week for four weeks, as well as provide meals each day for these students.

Outreach: LCS feels student learning is its first priority as an elementary school. Many students come from backgrounds that provide great challenges that often hinder their learning process. LCS has found that giving them more learning time in the summer allows the district to help bridge the gaps in their learning. As students have more opportunity to receive quality instruction, their confidence builds and they are able to implore new skills to help them learn in the upcoming year. LCS has noticed as students’ confidence improves they are more willing to take risks, make mistakes and learn from those situations.

It is in those positive environments, students are able to implement creativity and collaborate more confidently with their classmates to demonstrate their critical thinking skills. After having the opportunity to participate in Jump Start, students are generally more successful communicating not only their needs as learners, but their overall ideas, thoughts and evidence of those conclusions.

Results: In the first year, LCS was able to service 43 students. In summer 2014, LCS was able to service 57 students ranging from kindergarten through fifth grade for a total of 145 students since the start of this program. In working with these students LCS strives to collect and maintain appropriate data to show the effects of its efforts.

The students for whom LCS has been able to maintain data have seen some positive growth. As previously mentioned, the district's original goal was to reduce academic summer slide. In looking at the students LCS has determined that it considers Jump Start to be successful if students have zero summer slide or show growth on their STAR reading/math.

Some students did not come into the program with previous data for various reasons and for those students LCS determined that its goal was to get them at least at-grade level by fall of the upcoming school year. Generally, students who are invited to Jump Start are nominated by their teachers because they are not demonstrating grade level academic skills. If the district is able to catch them up to grade level by fall, it feels that is a wonderful effect of the program.

The bar graph below shows the percentage of students who were tracked through STAR data that attended the Jump Start Programs and demonstrated positive gains as a result.

The district is very proud of its Jump Start Program at Lawton Elementary and strives to make improvements and reach more students each summer. Parents and students are very appreciative of this program and the benefits to students are impactful. Students who are generally struggling academically and attend this program toward the end of the summer begin the school year more prepared and confident in their skills and abilities. 

Program Coordinator: Laura Mack, Teacher, lmack@lawtoncs.org

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