Great Schools Partnership kicks off summer programs

This year, a non-profit dedicated to improving the health and education of Knox County students is launching more summer options than ever.

Great Schools Partnership (GSP) is coordinating more summer enrichment activities at its community schools than ever before. 

This summer GSP is working with more than 40 partners at 11 community schools to provide activities to students over the summer. 

Mark Benson, field supervisor of the community schools initiative, said these activities include robotics, English language learner support, Girls, Inc., and Read to Be Ready. 

"It's really important to offer something safe, productive, structured, and academically enriching to help fight that learning loss," Benson said. 

At Green Magnet Academy this week, girls are taking part in the first-ever Girls, Inc. summer camp in Knox County. The program serves Knox County through after school programs, but this is the first time they have worked in a school during the summer. 

"This camp offers a safe place for girls to be themselves, be curious, and explore," said Allyson Mason, Girls, Inc. Knoxville outreach coordinator. 

The program encourages girls to ask questions and learn about different topics, and they learn about everything from science and technology to arts and math. 

Ariana Swain is a participant in the program this week. She is a soon-to-be fourth grader who has dreams of being a tv host, a runner, and a scientist

 "I just now noticed I was learning this much," Swain said. "It feels amazing." 

Kamya Flowers is also taking part in Girls, Inc. She will be in sixth grade in the fall and wants to be an entrepreneur and fashion designer. 

"I like art very much, and math-- since I'm having a little trouble in it, it helps me like see what size in clothes," Flowers said. 

Wednesday afternoon the girls painted ladybugs on rocks and answered questions about the anatomy and characteristics. 

"It's active. It's educational. It's all of those things," Swain said. 

Mason said the program provides hands-on, intentional learning opportunities to encourage girls to go after their dreams. 

"We're here to support them, to encourage them, and open their horizons to things that they haven't heard about before," Mason added. 

GSP has plenty of programs for boys and girls throughout the summer at its community school sites for little to no cost. It also has partners to provide food and snacks to the participants during the summer months. 

If you would like to help, GSP said it can always use volunteers or donations.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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