Archive for Thursday, February 28, 2008

USD 491 offers summer science camp

February 28, 2008

In an effort to offer year-round educational opportunities, the Eudora USD 491 will put on Camp Invention during the first week of June.

"It's something we've talked about for a while," Assistant Superintendent Don Grosdidier said. "In the summer time, we don't really don't offer any type of academic enrichment types of programs."

"Years and years ago, we used to have a summer school and for the most part, summer school was based on enrichment. And as the requirements for No Child Left Behind began to kick in, more of our resources had to go to the other side, which is remediation."

Grosdidier said the school district was looking enrichment options for either after school or during the summer when we was contacted by the Akron, Ohio-based Camp Invention, a program run by the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation.

From 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. June 2-6 at West Elementary School, students entering grades first through sixth can attend Camp Invention for $185.

The camp will feature activities that will focus on creativity, problem solving and teamwork. For instance, students who will be grouped by developmental levels - can design and create models for amusement park rides or crash-land on an alien planet and figure out a way to get home.

After investigating the program, Grosdidier decided it would be a good fit. The program especially will be affordable to the school district.

"It's not a program that really is going to cost the school district anything. It will predominately be paid for by the student enrollments," Grosdidier said.

A grant also will be written to Douglas County Community Foundation to subsidize the camp for students who are unable afford the fee.

One program director and at least three teachers will be needed to staff the camp, with the number of staff members growing in correspondence with enrollment. The aim to is have a staff-to-camper ratio between 1-to-6 to1-to-8.

Counselors also will be hired from a pool of applicants consisting of high school students and district employees such as teacher aids and paraprofessionals.

While Grosdidier knows Camp Invention will provide supervision for its participants, he said the motivation for attending should be learning.

"We don't want this to be considered daycare, and the cost of it is higher than you would typically pay for daycare," he said. "This is a fully educational program and the big selling point on this is it's designed to promote students' creativity, so if a student maybe has not been all that interested in science in the past, this may be something that really sparks that interest. It's more of an inquiry based program, and I think the kids will really get into that."

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