MARYSVILLE – When kids think of the Summer Slide they probably think of a city park or school playground.
But for educators, they think of the academic slide kids take by not doing learning activities in summer.
In the Marysville School District, there are various programs to help with that.
The newest one started Wednesday and runs through Aug. 14 at Jennings Park. Called “Reading on the Road,” the program includes a small school bus being at the park each week from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Teachers and parent volunteers from Kellogg-Marsh and Shoultes grade schools will read to kids and help them with their reading.
“They regress. This helps prevent that,” said Eneille Nelson, K-M principal.
Shoultes principal Cory Taylor called it the “Summer Slump.”
“To the extent we can get the kids reading that helps with academics,” he said.
A $3,000 Rotary Club grant was used to buy new books, which participants will be allowed to take home “to keep and grow their own libraries,” Nelson said.
She said K-M has been doing its own program the past few years, focusing on “our major apartments that feed into our school.”
But this year they combined with Shoultes and in the future hope to partner with even more schools, “To have a greater impact on the community.”
Taylor said his school had been opening its library during summers but participation had fallen off.
Taking it to Jennings Park instead will open the effort up to things like YMCA summer camps, which took advantage of the opportunity Wednesday.
“We’ll bring the resources to the students,” he said.
K-M teacher Debbie Whitfield said they hope to take advantage of the city’s Kids Concerts in the Park, although this week’s was changed to this Tuesday because of rain.
“School is coming to them,” she said. “We’ll meet them where they’re at.”
The first customer this week was Gavin Anderson, a fourth-grader who is home-schooled in Snohomish. He chose two science fiction-fantasy books in the Artemis Fowl series, which features a 12-year-old criminal mastermind.
Whitfield said there are plenty of books – boxes and boxes of them – so they can be “replenished all summer.”
Nelson said the effort will help kids “love reading even more and help build relationships” with the adult volunteers.
Along with the Rotary, the Marysville YMCA donated Frisbees and jump ropes, while the local military commissary donated snacks. The two schools also had a book drive for families who wanted to donate gently used or new books for the cause.
Other schools, like Allen Creek Elementary, still open up their libraries for certain hours during the summer.
Meanwhile, summer school also is under way. Nelson, who also is leading that program this summer, said elementary schools participating include Liberty, Cascade and Quil Ceda. Marysville Middle School also plays a role, and at the high school level credit retrieval programs are offered.
Fixing up schools
School improvements also are part of summer activities.
New siding is being put in at Marysville-Pilchuck High and Cedarcrest Middle schools, along with a portable at Allen Creek and elsewhere. Other portables will be painted and roofed.
Plumbing staff will install water-filling stations at Marysville Getchell High to complete student-led conservation efforts.
Flower beds will be weeded and bark added.
Allen Creek and Marshall get new playgrounds.
Cascade Elementary will have its gym floor sanded and refinished.
A rooftop heating unit will be replaced at the district Service Center.
A fire sprinkler system at Shoultes.
Minor remodeling will take place to create additional office space at the Early Learning Center.
Pinewood Elementary will have developmental preschool added; accommodations made to add second All-Day Early Childhood Education & Assistance Program; addition of covered play area to increase outdoor recreation during inclement weather; and redirection of bus drop off and pick up area.
Marshall Elementary faces changes to playground to accommodate additional classrooms, parking and improve student supervision.
And Totem Middle School will have trees removed in northwest corner of campus to improve safety and a portion of its roof replaced.
Also starting this week was the school district’s summer meal program. While participation was slow this week, Nelson said it’s a great program both financially and emotionally.
“Parents don’t have to think about it,” Nelson said. “Families in need don’t have the money. It’s great the district can give those families support.”
She said kids of all ages are coming to get the free food for breakfast and lunch.
It’s also good for the families, Nelson said.
“Parents can go to the school and eat with the kids as well,” without distractions they face at home, she said.
Times are 9:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. at Allen Creek, Cascade, Liberty, Marshall and Shoultes elementaries weekdays through Aug. 9. Similar programs are offered at the Boys and Girls Club, Quil Ceda Elementary and the Cedar Grove Apartments.
Helping with supplies
Finally, the church that Nelson attends, Abundant Faith International Christian Center, is fund-raising $3,000 to buy 150 backpacks filled with school supplies for kids in need.
“It’s out of genuine love,” she said of the church effort.
Nelson said the church had Thanksgiving dinners for families in need last year, and decided it wants to do more community outreach.
The supplies, which include lunch boxes, will be given out Sept. 1 at 11 a.m. at the church at 13917 Smokey Point Blvd.
There also will be a drawing for gift cards.
The school district also collects school supplies. Backpacks, pencils, paper and binders are the most-needed items. Its effort includes donation boxes at 10 locations. Call Jenny Roodzant at 360-926-2228 or email Jenny.Roodzant@usw.salvationarmy.org