To effectively replace “summer learning loss” with “summer learning progress,” it is very important that our summer programs are integrated cohesively with the regular academic school year at Epiphany. In July, rising 6th, 7th, and 8th graders attend our Summer Intensive: a four-week residential academic enrichment program at Groton School (Groton, MA), with Epiphany graduates and Groton students serving as counselors. The school year kicks off for the new students in the middle of August when the incoming fifth graders attend a week-long orientation. Instead of falling back over the summer, Epiphany students make measurable progress.
The Summer Intensive Program provides a unique opportunity for these young students to continue to build upon their academic progress, to participate in a residential boarding experience, and to join in summer camp activities. The program also effectively takes the kids off the streets and ensures that they will have a safe and productive summer. Students are required to wear a uniform, adhere to strict behavior guidelines, and are not allowed electronic devices including cell phones.
Each day Summer Intensive participants take four 70-minute academic classes in Math, Test Preparation, English, and Health & Nutrition. These classes are integrated in the curriculum of the “regular” academic school year and support our students’ accelerated academic progress. Students also have two hours of sports every day at the Summer Intensive and one hour of pool time daily during which our inexperienced or novice swimmers receive instruction. Students participate in age and gender-based Girls’ and Boy’s Groups with trained facilitators to explore issues they face as urban young people of color, as growing teenagers, and in their family situations. Every evening students are given 1 ½ hours during study hall to complete homework and to seek help from counselors and teaching staff before heading back to the dormitories for free social time. Every student is assigned a personal tutor that they meet with daily to review challenging academic course work and standardized test preparation.
The Epiphany Summer Intensive is life changing for many of our students. The opportunity to get out of their comfort zones, explore new spaces, and grow in a safe space provides them the chance to develop leadership skills, work on goals set by themselves and their teachers, and also become young men and women of whom we can all be proud.