By: Katie Babb
This has been a really rewarding internship. This is my third year working with the Vilas School, and knowing that a few years ago I was just organizing storage and now I’m running programs for students is really cool. I had a few major projects over the summer: the two summer programs I was running and two projects that will be implemented in the upcoming school year at Vilas. I’ve learned a lot this summer about the school system at Vilas and how they work to help students keep their upward growth over the summer break. I’m grateful that I was allowed to be a part of it and I’ve enjoyed my time.
During the summer, I ran the Extended Summer Learning Program and the Summer Reading Program. Both of these programs have the same end goal: helping students avoid a “summer slump” by encouraging continued growth. Students were chosen for the Extended Summer Learning Program based on data taken throughout the year. Those students were sent home with a computer and instructions for a program most of them were already familiar with. Students were encouraged to work a certain amount of time each week in order to keep continual growth. I monitored their time and their work and communicated with parents and guardians about the students’ progress. I was also available to help with any technical difficulties. At the end of the program, every student who completed their time in the program was given a small reward and their name was placed in a drawing for a bigger reward. In the end, only one student completed all of the required time, but I believe that all the students were able to grow at least a little from their work.
I also ran the Summer Reading Program. This was a program open to every elementary student in the school. They set goals with their teachers before the end of the school year and were given instructions for the website the school uses for reading, Accelerated Learning. Most students were to read books and then take a comprehension test, for which they would earn points towards their goal. Some students were given a reading log that parents would sign off on and send to me. Every student who completed their goal earned a small reward and had their name entered in a drawing for a larger reward. I monitored their progress and communicated with their parents. For my volunteer hours, I opened the school’s library so that students could check out books.
I created two things for the teachers at Vilas: standards flipcharts and PBIS tokens. The flipcharts are standards from a curriculum the school uses that will give students an “I can” statement related to the work they are doing and the content they are learning. PBIS is a behavior management system based on positive reinforcement that the school is going to implement during the next school year. I created tokens for the school to use. Those tokens will then buy students rewards. I look forward to seeing how my contributions will work out for the school and hope that they can help the students and the teachers in some way.