Knight Lights Program Expands Learning

Summer vacation should be a fun-filled time children use to build life-long memories. But for many it’s a time they suffer learning gaps known as the “summer slide”, educational pauses that can stunt development.

But to fight the summer slide the Windsor Central School District has developed the Knight Lights program. The summer program is open to all students entering kindergarten through sixth grade.

Day campers will be on the move participating in fitness, art literacy and STEM-related activities. Each session will included a field trip to a local attraction to broaden the summer time experience. The program is led by certified Windsor teachers and high school student mentors.

But the District also collaborates with other local institutions. Graduate students from Binghamton University, including from the Engineering School and School of Education, will also lead the program. Knight Lights also runs in conjunction with the Cornell Cooperative Extension, 4-H and the Broome County Promise Zone.

“Research supports that the ‘summer slide’ can have a cumulative effect on students leading to an academic deficit that in many cases the traditional school-year academic program, that includes academic intervention, can not overcome,” said Scott Beattie, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction for the Windsor Central School District.

Beattie cites research by Johns Hopkins University and others which shows that low-income students lose more than two months of reading achievement over summer break. That research claims this loss can explain much of the achievement gap between lower-income and higher-income students.

“The Knight Lights Summer Program is our opportunity to remove the summer slide from the K-12 continuum through an aligned program supported by business and higher-education collaborations. At the end of every summer, it is our goal for each child to re-enter traditional school in September ready to go and with a summer experience worth writing about,” said Beattie.

Picture of smiling student

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