Summer program 'boosts' children's learning experience


by Rodney Spencer

Posted on June 16, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 17 at 1:11 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The summer slip – it’s a term used to describe the estimated 22 percent of information grade school students forget during the summer break.

The Summer Boost program is in its fifth year at the J.B. Atkinson Academy for Excellence. It is a collaboration between Jefferson County Public Schools and volunteers from the University of Louisville.

“You can’t just take – you have to give back to things and helping students. It’s so rewarding when they finally get something. One of my kids, she couldn’t figure out one of the words earlier today and she finally got that it said it and she screamed it. She was so excited jumping for joy out of her seat,” Ashley Fields, a recent UofL graduate said.

Many of the grade school students in the Summer Boost program come from low-income neighborhoods but all of them have one thing in common.

“These are the students and the families that they want their kids to be as successful as they possibly can, so they’re trying to get them that extra practice and that extra work,” Fields said.

Octavius Jackson, an advanced placement student, is one of the 80 students enrolled in the program. Jackson has a strong love for learning and an even stronger will to succeed.

“To me, I think that I excel at a lot of things but even though you can be good at something and you can do it over and over a lot of times but it shows that you really care if you keep doing it even though you are good at it,” he said.

Free lunch as well as transportation is provided for the students. The learning experience reaches beyond the classroom as principal Stephanie Nutter explains.

“We also offer field trips so like this Friday we are having an in-house field trip so the University of Louisville is providing us travel to the Planetarium so our kids will get to lay under the stars inside our gym and see what the solar system looks like,” she said. “Next Friday we are taking all of our kids to Locus Grove which is an experience which is an experience not many of them had.”

It’s an experience Octavius says he is thankful for.

“It’s really nice and it’s a really lucky opportunity that we get to have UofL people to come and work with us at our school because not all of the schools has that,” he said.

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