STOPPING SUMMER SLIDE
As Springfield kids return to school in August, many will be playing catch-up on their studies after a couple of months out of the classroom. But the Family Service Center has been working all summer to prevent the “summer slide,” the phenomenon in which kids forget what they learned the previous school year and have to relearn it. Although the Family Service Center is best known as a nonprofit foster care and adoption agency, the organization also hosts Camp Compass, a free summer program for homeless and low-income elementary students in Springfield Public Schools. Seventy-five kids took part in this year’s five-week camp, receiving individualized help in math and reading each day from certified teachers. The camp also includes fun activities and field trips, breakfast, lunch and transportation. Although the results of this year’s camp won’t be known until the kids return to school, last year’s camp showed a lot of promise. Nearly 88 percent of kindergartners at the camp improved or stayed the same in literacy over the summer, while 95 percent improved or stayed the same in math. Among first-graders, 80 percent tested better or the same in reading and 73 percent in math. The numbers for second- through fifth grade were even better, with nearly 100 percent of students retaining their math and reading knowledge over the summer. Molly Berendt, the Camp Compass director, deserves a round of applause for developing the program out of her passion for needy kids. For more info, check out www.service2families.org.