Summer Learning Sets Middle School Students Up for Success

Summer learning plays an integral part in mitigating the Summer Slide, and the even more significant COVID-Slide learning loss we are experiencing now. Compass Academy Network (CAN) aims to provide a high-quality, no-cost summer enrichment learning option for underserved, rural middle school students. Due to a variety of factors, including access to high-speed internet, these students often lack options to continue enriching their learning during the summer months effectively. CAN works with area school districts to identify these students and provide them with summer learning opportunities. CAN’s program aims to help students improve their success when returning to school in the fall.

As our Joplin-based program was ready to get underway this summer, local COVID-19 cases were rising exponentially. Health and safety regulations and guidelines were continually changing as the Compass Academy team was preparing for its second annual free summer school program. The safety of our students was our top priority. However, under these conditions, we determined we could not provide a meaningful and productive in-person experience for our students. We had to pivot quickly to redesign how we delivered our summer program.

After surveying our families, and their internet accessibility, our team developed the Compass Academy In-home Program! We determined that another online learning experience was neither desired nor feasible for many of our students. Instead, Compass Academy developed a challenging and engaging 4-week long program that did not use the internet for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Weekly learning packets divided into daily assignments comprising two forty-five-minute activities and a twenty-minute reading period per “school day” were developed. Students received a weekly classical novel to read as well as quality art supplies, school supplies, and snacks. Packets were delivered weekly by the Compass staff to students at their local schools. Students returned photos of their completed assignments through text messaging.

Student Reactions

I discovered that I’m intuitive!” [LM, CAN Summer participant] “I discovered that I enjoy reading new books.” [AP, CAN Summer participant] “I am better at drawing than what I thought.” [BH, CAN Summer participant] These were just a few of the comments we received from our students. “Plan your work and work your plan” was one of the academic strategies Compass students used to complete their daily assignments. Parents appreciated the all-in-one package that included everything their child needed to participate in our summer enrichment program. Each week students received stimulating writing and deep-thinking activities, exposure to new and exciting perspectives, and the ability to express themselves through different mediums with the provided art materials.

As Compass students return this fall to their schools either in-person or virtually, they are returning with a new sense of accomplishment. Throughout CAN’s in-home summer enrichment program, students worked towards finding their inner voice, discovering new interests and talents, strengthening academic and study skills, and developing a vision toward their future success!

Compass Academy Network’s mission includes providing the best child education, leadership opportunities, and free summer childcare options to middle school students in Missouri and Kansas. We are proudly serving the communities of Galena, Riverton, Baxter Springs, Joplin, Diamond, and Neosho. Our team is standing by to help answer any questions you may have. Simply contact us at

Best Summer School | Joplin MO | Compass Academy Network

During CAN’s Foundations of Art unit, LM, one of our 2020 participants created artwork using shapes and colors to express emotion.

Top Photo: MG, one of CAN’s Summer 2020 participants works on an art project during CAN’s in home program.