It’s the summer of learning at Northwestern Lehigh Elementary

Written by on June 28, 2021

It’s the summer of learning at Northwestern Lehigh Elementary

By Chloe Nouvelle

June 28, 2021

Photo | Chloe Nouvelle / WLVR

In districts across the Lehigh Valley, teachers are using the next two months to help kids catch up on learning lost to the pandemic. 

Listen to the story.

Northwestern Lehigh School District’s elementary school students are having fun as they learn in the school’s “Summer Smarts” program

Mad Science Lehigh Valley’s Chief Mad Scientist Bill Petterson, still wearing his mask, introduces kindergarteners the fundamentals of aerodynamics.

“Today, I’m teaching about the forces of flight, aerodynamics, and we’re folding paper airplanes and we’re making them fly. And we’re gonna build some model rockets and launch them,” Petterson says. 

Petterson is here as part of the new Summer Smarts program, part school, part camp. It’s designed to help kids who have been identified by their teachers as having learning losses due to the pandemic. 

These kindergarten through fifth graders are covering their academic bases but Superintendent Jennifer Holman says they’re bringing in the fun too.

“We tried to sandwich the instruction in English, language arts, and math with something fun in the middle with the mad scientists this week,” Holman says.

The school received federal funds earmarked to address learning loss. Principal Maria Pulli says she now has 72 kids coming in each day for the next four weeks. 

“We had our teachers recommend students that they felt throughout the year had demonstrated learning loss based on classroom grades, observations, (and) different assessments that we did throughout the year. And so those students were given sort of first dibs,” Pulli says. 

So far, Superintendent Holman says it’s going well and there’s something really nice about having kids in school.

“We’re just really excited to see our buildings alive again and see our kids here and be able to do a little bit of help over the summer,” Holman says, “So they can hit the ground running in the fall.

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