Summer Learning 2016 Update 4: Boston Students Benefit from Outdoor Learning Opportunities

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Commissioner Mitchell Chester Visits YMCA Camp Ponkapoag

unnamed (3)This week, Commissioner Mitchell Chester, joined by James Morton, Vice-Chair of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Cliff Chuang, Senior Associate Commissioner for Educational Options at DESE, donned their camping gear and visited YMCA Camp Ponkapoag‘s summer program to witness outdoor learning in action.

Click here to read more.

The Christian Science Monitor: “The Boston summer school students reach by ferry – not bus”

unnamed (4)In profiling a mould-breaking summer learning opportunity for Boston Public School students, the Christian Science Monitor highlights Thompson Island as a successful program that blends academic advancement, social-emotional skillbuilding, and exposure to nature. With input from youth and BASB’s David McAuley, the piece advocates for a more holistic approach to summer learning.

Click here to read the article. 

High School Programs Provide Opportunities to Transform Youth into Leaders

unnamed (1)Two programs that work with high school students, the LEAH Project and Artward Bound, are among those that have pledged to increase opportunities for youth leadership and autonomy this summer.

The LEAH Project, which stands for Leaders through Education, Action, and Hope, empowers students by teaching STEM curricula and facilitating relationship building skills. Allyson Shifley, Program Associate at the LEAH Project, described the program as “steeped in a youth development approach that works to harness the assets of every youth to help them grow as individuals in their communities.”

“The LEAH Project demands youth leadership as we work with high school students to teach, and therefore be leaders and role models, to elementary-aged students at summer camp programs,” Shifley said.

Click here to learn how the LEAH Project and Artward Bound incorporate youth leadership into programming.

Students Explore the Great Outdoors and Hands-On Learning at Camp Ponkapoag

unnamed (5)Pulling students from the urban environment of Boston, YMCA Camp Ponkapoag acquaints rising fourth and fifth graders with the great outdoors while helping them develop skills that they can apply both in school and in life. By combining quality academics with outdoor exploration, the Summer Learning Project partner provides students with an impressive array of opportunities to learn, grow, and have fun.

“Our plans/goals for the summer are for students to demonstrate a deeper understanding and proficiency with the curriculum (water or simple machines), be able to apply their learning through meaningful tasks, think critically, and communicate clearly in a variety of media,” Site Director Ashley Cobb said.

Click here to learn more about YMCA Camp Ponkapoag. 

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If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for future updates, please contact Olivia Rybolt at

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