Summer Bridge spotlight: Bay Point Elementary
As the Times reported Sunday, more than 6,600 students in elementary and middle school are getting an extra dose of reading, math and science this summer in Pinellas County. The six-week program, called Summer Bridge, is the biggest initiative of superintendent Mike Grego's first year at the helm.
We visited two schools for the story, Bay Point Elementary and Palm Harbor Middle. Not everything we saw could make it into the story, so here's a taste of what Summer Bridge looked like at Bay Point:
Students at the school were inside reading with their teacher, outside looking for osprey in a nearby nest and writing in journals. There were supplies to make bird feeders - remember the classic pine cone covered in seed? - and model airplane kits. The school's librarian is volunteering one day a week to open the library so the students can check out books.
In most classes, the day was a mix of reading, math and science, with a heavy focus on literacy in all subjects. Third grade students facing retention had a different schedule, spending the day entirely on reading.
School administrators gave us some statistics about the students. Of the 183 who registered, 155 showed up. Students came to Bay Point from 17 other elementary schools, with the biggest groups from Bay Point and Lakewood Elementary. About 36 students, or about 23 percent, of those who showed up were students who were being held back a grade.
Does anyone have a child at Summer Bridge? What have you observed? What do you think about the concept?