Elementary students from local school districts spent two weeks this summer at Winston-Salem State University, bolstering their literacy and math skills through a new summer camp: Reading and Mathematics Summer Camp (RaMs-C).
The camp, held June 20-July 1, brought to campus 48 first- through fifth-graders from 21 schools – 17 from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, three charter schools, and one private school. The students received tutoring from volunteers from the WSSU Elementary Education faculty and student interns.
RaMs-C was designed to enrich literacy, mathematics and technology skills in the morning, and then provide fun and engaging STEM activities in the afternoon to decrease the “summer slide” experience or regression of skills during the summer months away from the classroom.
“That’s what we do as educators. We serve the needs of the students. That’s first and foremost,” said Kimberly Pemberton, the camp’s literacy coordinator. She explained that RaMs-C is an outgrowth of a similar summer program for middle school students operated by WSSU Associate Professor of Education Denise Johnson, called SciTech.
“When Dr. Johnson began SciTech with middle school students, the Elementary Education faculty began to consider how we could provide a similar summer experience for elementary students,” Pemberton said.
For WSSU Associate Professor of Education Dawn Tafari, the camp represents the university’s values and commitment to service.
WSSU student Joshua Sermon, who volunteered to assist with the camp, said the experience helped him prepare for the next phase of his journey toward obtaining his degree.
“This opportunity will better prepare me for pre-clinicals, the semester before student teaching, in the fall,” he said.
“This camp was birthed out of our commitment to social justice,” Tafari said. “This camp is designed to help close the academic achievement gap by providing a rich, summer academic experiences for children who may not be able to afford expensive summer programs.”
The cost for the two-week camp was $30 for each participant, said camp administrator Fran Oates. But she also pointed out that scholarships were available for students who qualified for free or reduced lunch.
She added that there was one other benefit the camp provided.
“Our campers like to tell their friends they were students at WSSU,” she said.