A new, three-week summer enrichment program is being offered in Joplin to help middle school students avoid the summer slide and return to their schools in the fall ready to learn.

The program will be held at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, 3401 E. Newman Road, and is supported by the nonprofit Compass Academy Network, which was founded by Debra and David Humphreys, of Joplin. David Humphreys is the president and CEO of TAMKO Building Products Inc.

It will be offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays beginning July 15 and ending Aug. 2. It’s open to students in grades six through eight, regardless of school district, whose families qualify for free or reduced-rate lunches and who have achieved the level of “proficient” or “advanced” in their most recent reading and math MAP tests.

The goal of the program is to use team building and educational exploration to help children experience character growth and to enhance their academic and social skills, according to Shauna Tharp, program director.

“All the educational research points to the fact that over the summer, students lose some of the knowledge they gain during the previous year,” she said. “Middle school is this key time when students have the opportunity to build the skills that are necessary when they get to high school.”

Students will take classes in five key areas: STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), language arts, civics and character development, art, and personal development and study skills.

Thanks to support from the Compass Academy Network, admission is free. Lunch will be provided, as will bus transportation to and from a central location in each surrounding school district.

“We’re also trying to build a community with the idea that these students will return year after year,” Tharp said.

Participating students who have perfect attendance during the three weeks will receive a $45 Walmart gift card to use for school supplies. School districts that have 15 students or more complete the summer session will receive a partner grant of $5,000 for middle school needs.

Register by July 8 at CompassAcademyNetwork.org.

Source: The Joplin Globe