Summer programming: building academic confidence and increasing engagement to learning

Last school year, BTEC and Chicago non-profit A Knock at Midnight (AKAM) worked together to provide group and individual tutoring to students at Dunbar and Phillips high schools, and this summer we are taking it a step further with our unique summer school programming.

Students participating in this Upward Bound program just reached the midpoint of their six-week summer school session, and to say we hit the ground running is an understatement. Because students hail from different high schools and grade levels, we knew our programming needed to be intentional if we wanted to promote growth across multiple domains.

Participants are split into four groups that remain together all summer, and rotate through English, Math, Science and Spanish classes for an hour each, Monday-Thursday. Each Friday we visit a different Chicago-area college or university.

To combat the difficulties that arise with a tight timeline and diverse range of learners, we decided to focus on process over content, emphasize relationship-building and social/emotional learning, and create real-world connections based

on student interest. As a teaching team we've been working all spring to create meaningful lessons that connect across content areas and collaborative learning experiences for students to take risks academically and realize the "why" behind content that too often feels meaningless.

If you'd like to learn more or get involved with AKAM's Upward Bound programming, we're always looking for tutors to work with students during the academic year, and starting this fall we'll also be searching for professionals to lead workshops in their area of expertise that could help students prepare for life post-high school (personal finance, resume-writing, the college application process, etc.). Email bettertogetheredcollab@gmail.com to get connected!

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