A group of Fulcrum supporters recently had a chance to venture over to Bainbridge Island to visit St. Cecilia Catholic School (SCCS) to watch the Summer Step Up Program in action. The six-week multi-faceted program serves students, many of whom are English Language Learners (ELL), and offers them a chance to work with SCCS teachers on their Summer Learning Packets. These packets are intended to help students continue their academic progress and English language skills over the summer. In addition, students visit the Bainbridge Island Library and participate in field trips, which include the Bainbridge Island History Museum, Bainbridge Island Art Museum, Moritani Trail and Waterfront Park. The combination of learning both in the classroom and in the field offered students a wonderful integration of exploration, critical thinking, creativity and community building. Summer Step Up was funded through a Fulcrum Building Diversity and Inclusion Grant, which made it possible for the school to offer the program at no cost to St. Cecilia families.
As part of the program, 5th-8th graders were offered a special STEM Learning Lab, focusing on math and science. Chasity Malatesta, science teacher at SCCS, was able to seamlessly weave math, science and art into engaging lab experiences. Of her experience teaching in the STEM Learning Lab, Malatesta said, “My hope is that students who are equipped to design, communicate and compute during the summer, develop an internal confidence heading into the new year.”
This summer, 20 student’s participated in the Summer Step Up Program, a tremendous success for the first year of the program. Principal Susan Kilbane hopes to continue the program in future years and is looking forward to seeing its impact on student learning and growth as the new school year begins. She shared, “Learning happens in a community which was definitely the case in our summer programs.”