Darlington County School District receives $70,000 grant to expand summer reading camp, partner with Coker College and YMCA of the Upper Pee Dee
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Darlington County School District’s summer reading camp for students reading below grade level will expand significantly this year, thanks to a $70,000 Summer Reading Camp Community Partnership Grant from the S.C. Department of Education.
As the grant’s name suggests, the district will partner with the YMCA of the Upper Pee Dee and Coker College to provide more instructional time and extracurricular activities for students, as well as professional development for educators.
The summer reading camp, this year following the Darlington County Library System’s theme of “Ready, Set, Read,” will be hosted at Thornwell School for the Arts and provide substantial instructional time for young students reading below grade level at the end of the school year.
“I am very excited about the increased literacy opportunities this grant will create,” said Molly Spearman, State Superintendent of Education. “This is one way we’re working to stop summer reading loss and provide much-needed help to students. It will be a great way to assist them over the summer with their reading and ensure they hit the ground running when school starts in August.”
Darlington County School District’s (DCSD) Title I/Federal Programs in the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment applied for the grant. The office expects approximately 120 students to attend the summer reading camp.
“This is year three of the summer reading camp, and we have seen all of our kindergarten students exit this program reading on grade level in the past two years,” said Matthew Ferguson, DCSD’s ELA and Social Studies coordinator. “We have seen as much as two years of growth during the summer reading camp with many of our students. Research has continuously shown that kids on reading level by the end of third grade are twice as likely to graduate on time as kids who are not reading on grade level.”
During the summer reading camp, faculty from Coker College’s Wiggins School of Education will provide professional development to educators and staff members with Darlington County School District and the YMCA.
“We are thrilled that the Darlington County School District has been awarded the Summer Reading Camp Community Partnership Grant,” said Dr. Susan Henderson, dean of the Wiggins School of Education. “The element of collaboration is always welcomed in the educational community, and faculty members in the Wiggins School of Education are excited to discuss literacy and summer camp ideas with teachers and staff in the school district and the YMCA. How delightful that Darlington County students will be able to benefit in so many ways from this community partnership.”
Transportation will be provided to and from the camp, which will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. – marking a three-hour extension in the camp day due to the additional funding. Students will spend those extra hours each day at the YMCA. Students will be rewarded for good attendance with special field trips coordinated by the YMCA, and there is the potential for students to earn scholarships to the YMCA’s other summer camps for good attendance.
Along with the state funding, appropriated by the General Assembly, the TEACH Foundation provides significant funding for the summer reading camp.
The Darlington County School District is a countywide district serving more than 10,400 students in 23 schools and Darlington County Adult Education. For more information, please visit www.darlington.k12.sc.us.