Bartlesville Education Promise is continuing to build on it progress by expanding programs designed for help students who face challenges in learning.
The nonprofit is providing funds for three new programs this summer, said BEP chairman Martin Garber. This means that students will have several opportunities to learn in fun and engaging ways.
Beginning in June, the popular STEM Camp held at Tri County Tech will be open to even more students. Last year’s camp had room form 184 students, while this year nearly 300 students will be introduced to science, technology, engineering and math.
As a means to improve educational opportunities and graduation rates for Bartlesville students, the organization initially spearheaded the summer camps with the help of Bartlesville Public Schools, Tri County Tech and the Barry W. Lowe and Karen Sue Lowe Foundation.
The extension of the STEM Camp is made possible by numerous corporate and association donors. Classes will be taught by a qualified teacher and will have the help of business employees from the community who will stress the importance of STEM subjects to various careers.
The first camp will be from June 4-9 for grades 8-9 and will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The second camp will be from June 11-15 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be for grades 4-5. Finally, the third camp will run from June 18-22 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for grades 6-7.
The upcoming opportunities are being provided at low cost, and some students could be eligible for scholarships for the summer programs. Interested students should obtain an application from their school and submit it to their counselor’s office.
Garber said the summer camps are a good way for Bartlesville students to learn, while still having fun.
“That’s the whole purpose of our program is to challenge the kids and help them with the graduation rate over the long run,” said Garber.
One of the major programs BEP focuses on is third-grade reading, and has regularly provided take home books to each of the elementary schools.
Thanks to the Bartlesville Community Foundation, BEP will also establish a summer reading program. Teachers from the Bartlesville School system are being hired to work with partners to encourage young students to improve their reading skills.
Reading teachers will work with summer school participants and afternoon participants at the YMCA, Bartlesville Public Library, and the Boys and Girls Club, and other organizations to encourage students to select a book to read at home, Garber explained.
BEP Vice Chairman Ginger Griffin noted that most third grade students are realizing that improved reading skills can have a lifetime impact.
“Great numbers of middle school and high school students are using after school tutoring resources to improve absorption of subject matter content in critical learning of English and STEM subjects,” said Griffin.
During the summer reading program, students will be encouraged to sign a “pledge” to read during their summer months. During the afternoons when the students attend one of the partner locations, teachers will discuss the books with the students, making sure they are completing their reading and helping them to select a grade level reading book.
Emphasis will be placed on students in the first through third grades, but the program will be open to all students, Garber said.
Finally, BEP funds will allow the Boys and Girls Club to hire educational staff to provide up to three hours of educational programs for close to 400 students each day. The courses taught under “Project Learn,” a Boys and Girls Club program, include math, English, and computing. The club also will hold an art and science camp.
Bartlesville Education Promise is committed to improving the graduation rate in local public schools, and Griffin and Garber are confident that tutoring after school helps. The summer enrichment programs are making a difference, too, not only to provide areas of interest for learning, but to make sure students don’t regress during the summer.
“Summer courses expand lifetime horizons and reduce the uncertainty that many students experience when making moves from primary to middle schools and from middle schools to the high school,” said Griffin.
Last year combined attendance at the BEP’s after school tutoring in all nine Bartlesville schools summer programs totaled more than 2,800 students.