Denise Smith, left, of Sweet Cheeks Bakery helps Rock Hall Elementary School Acceleration Academy students make cake pops similar to the truffula trees in "The Lorax."
ROCK HALL — The school doors were kept open throughout much of July with Acceleration Academies offering students a chance to boost their education over the summer.
Around 375 students across all grade levels enrolled in Kent County Public School's Acceleration Academies this summer.
"That is an incredible number of students attending our summer schools," said Dr. Karen Couch, superintendent of schools. "These academies were open to all our of students and we had a really nice turnout."
Each elementary school and the middle school offered summer Acceleration Academy programs.
For high schoolers, there were credit recovery programs and an Algebra I Bootcamp.
"Approximately 50 credits were recovered by students who attended our summer programs" Dr. Couch said.
Students considering one of the trades pathways at the high school could sign up for a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Discovery program.
Meals and bus service were provided for the summer programs to ensure all interested students could attend.
"Our students gain so many benefits from participating in the summer academies," said Gina Jachimowicz, director of teaching and learning at Kent County Public Schools. "From engaging in lessons that support growth in academic areas to enhancing their skills and abilities by participating in hands-on learning experiences designed for both social and personal growth."
The Acceleration Academies provided much more for students than the classic summer school experience of added coursework.
Students enjoyed field trips, special classroom visits and much more.
At Rock Hall Elementary School, students in the younger Acceleration Academy classrooms enjoyed lessons based around "The Lorax," the classic children's book by Dr. Suess.
Beyond reading the book and talking about the book, the Rock Hall students had a special visitor Thursday, July 20.
Denise Smith, proprietor of Sweet Cheeks Bakery in Rock Hall, worked with the students to make cake pops resembling the iconic truffula trees from "The Lorax."
At Galena Elementary School, students learned about gardening and planting thanks to Justinian Dispenza, a town council member and founder of the Eastern Shore permaculture Institute.
Galena Elementary School Acceleration Academy students visit Eastern Shore Permaculture Institute and learn about gardening with Justinian Dispenza.
"We saw lots of things in different stages of the growing process — peaches, Asian pears, blackberries, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkins and more! We fed chickens, harvested some crops, and went on a scavenger hunt for insects," said Galena Elementary School Principal Becky Yoder of a trip to the institute. "What a fun way to spend the morning!"
The Home Depot in Middletown, Del. donated perennials to the school that Acceleration Academy students planted over the summer.
At H.H. Garnet Elementary School, the Acceleration Academy followed E.B. White's book "Charlotte's Web."
Following that theme, students enjoyed a field trip to Happy Herd Hill Farm.
"The students got to bottle feed goats, wash and brush cows, feed pigs and chickens and cuddle some cute kittens," said Garnet Elementary school Principal Brenda Rose. "Our Acceleration Academy students are reading 'Charlotte's Web' as our One School, One Book this summer, so the field trip fit perfectly with our farm theme this summer."
Local organizations like the Sultana Education Foundation and the Kent County Family YMCA continued their partnerships with Kent County Public Schools through the summer as well, with students going on nature excursions and swimming.
"Thank you to all our community members and organizations who helped make our Acceleration Academies a memorable experience for our students," Jachimowicz said. "The Kent County Public Schools summer learning academies prevent learning loss while allowing our students to just have some fun in the summer sun!"
A student from H.H. Garnet Elementary School's Acceleration Academy checks out fish caught with a seine on a field trip with Sultana Education Foundation.