SPS starts LEAP program

Published 5:43 pm Saturday, June 30, 2018

Students from all 11 elementary schools in Suffolk finished their first week of the district’s LEAP program this Friday.

The LEAP program — Learning and Enrichment for Academic Progress — is a full day summer program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Students that participate in the program spend the day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. receiving academic remediation and enrichment opportunities.

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“It’s the best of both worlds,” said SPS administration intern Robert Casteen.

While they are receiving academic remediation, students won’t advance grade levels. The remediation features thematic hands-on learning, small group instruction, expanded library media center opportunities and healthy habits curriculum.

“They get to learn during the summertime so they don’t slide, and they get to learn whether they are on the top or the bottom,” Casteen said. “Kids get to stay in a rhythm with their education.”

While students get the opportunity to brush up on their academics, their days are also filled with enrichment opportunities.

Some students get to participate in yoga, crochet or other enrichment opportunities. Other opportunities can be field trips taken to various places around Suffolk.

“Primarily this gives them an opportunity to do something that they wouldn’t normally do,” said SPS administration intern Kristopher Gillgren.

Their first trip of the year was for kindergarten, first and second-grade students, and they got to watch a storytelling show at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

The students watched Barbara Lawson tell vivid stories, and the whole theater was full of giggling children.

Lawson used to be a kindergarten teacher, and now she is a well-known children’s author and storyteller. She was selected by the Virginia Commission for the Arts to be a traveling artist. She travels across Virginia to tell stories and teach workshops.