Education is a major goal of CDA 2030 during October, which is National Community Planning Month, as we celebrate taking a big-picture planning approach to current and future needs.
This year, the theme “Healthy Communities, Healthy People” focuses on the many facets of creating healthy communities including academic success and culture. Education tends to lead to a better understanding of the benefits of health and wellness, both personal and environmental.
One of the ways we realize an educational goal of CDA 2030 is through KIDS Camp, initiated as a pilot program in summer 2014 to support students who scored below grade level on state reading benchmarks. KIDS (Knowledge, Independence, Direction and Success) Camp provides intensive development of numeracy and literacy skills to students who do not meet grade level requirements prior to third grade. The focus was to provide a literacy-rich, camp-like environment during the summer months to buoy these at-risk readers and further prevent the “summer slide” in reading.
Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is one of the most important milestones in learning and sets the foundation for a successful academic future. Through grant funding, the summer 2015 program served 56 first- and second-graders. Student participants were highly successful in the pilot program, and preliminary results show students are similarly successful for 2015. After meeting twice a week for eight weeks in a literacy-rich environment, 93 percent of students showed no signs of the summer slide in reading at the end of the program. In fact, 21 percent of the students actually improved their reading abilities.
Education is a highly collaborative process. KIDS Camp’s success is due to community support and involvement. Local businesses supported KIDS Camp by allowing their employees to volunteer for an hour to read with camp participants, and they contributed financially by providing school supplies for the students. Middle and high school students as well as many adults in our community dedicated part of their summer to volunteer at KIDS Camp. These dedicated community volunteers built relationships with students, while furthering their academic growth and sense of community. This commitment was an indispensable and extraordinarily valuable part of KIDS Camp students’ success, for it is through these relationships that young children can learn to be part of a Healthy Community and Healthy People.
Research shows a child’s future academic success hinges on a strong foundation of third-grade reading proficiency. The Coeur d’Alene community’s support of KIDS Camp and CDA 2030 action item 4.6 was realized for eight weeks during the summer and the results will last a lifetime.
Tax-deductible donations to KIDS Camp can be sent to: Coeur d’Alene School District No. 271, 1400 N. Northwood Center Court, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814. Write KIDS Camp in the memo. For more information on the camp, visit www.kidscampcda.com.