PHOTOS: 'Olympic Games' Help Prepare Kids For Middle School
The Summer Bridge Program in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District offers a variety of summer learning and enrichment activities to prepare fifth-graders for that big transition.
It's common knowledge that moving to middle school can be a tough transition for kids.
So the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District created a camp-like summer program to help prepare students for sixth grade.
More than 50 fifth-grade graduates are enrolled, and they attend four classes Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Monticello Middle School. Kids take reading, math, AVID, which teaches them skills like time management, how to transition from class to class and how to organize a binder, and a team building class that is meant to help kids make good choices and avoid bullying.
But it also offers students a chance to meet other incoming sixth-graders who may not have attended the same elementary school.
And Fridays are devoted to fun and community service. On July 27, the teachers and students created their own Olympic games.
The soon-to-be sixth-graders participated in the 50-yard dash, track relay race, football toss and basketball, and learned about the history of the Olympics and its purpose.
When asked about their favorite part of the program, two students responded, "the teachers."
"The teachers and the kids and the way we learn," said Zhané Adkins, who will attend sixth grade at Roxboro Middle School. "I wouldn't have felt ready for middle school."
Four teachers, two middle school and two elementary school instructors, run the now 2-year-old program.
“The most important factor for the success of any school program is having the right staff in place," said Christopher Cook, principal of middle school summer school. "The Bridge teachers have worked since spring, planning for an exciting program. Their work will pay dividends when the students arrive at their respective middle schools in the fall, and are able to take leadership roles in that transition.”
Victoria Abdow, who teaches at Boulevard, said students who attend the program at first think it's a summer school, but she hopes that by the end, they feel they've been at camp.
"We started this last year ... the teachers were saying that they feel like the kids were really ready," Abdow said. "We don't want the students to have any anxiety in middle school."
Browse the photos above to see highlights from the Olympics day.