More than 220 Belton ISD elementary students are continuing to learn this summer through the district’s Summer Adventures in Learning program - or SAIL - which runs Monday-Thursday now until June 18.
“The program had to go virtual this year,” said Lexie Newberry, SAIL coordinator. “It’s definitely different than in the past, but as we’ve learned in the last few months, different doesn’t necessarily mean bad. It just means different.”
When COVID-19 hit, Newberry and her team of 15 teachers adjusted their plans to accommodate an at-home learning environment.
“Our goal with SAIL is always to build on experiences,” Newberry said. “Even with a virtual learning program, we wanted students to still engage in experiences, just from their own home right now.”
The students and teachers are coming together via Seesaw, an online learning platform, to dive into the arts, engineering, cultures, architecture and fairy tales. They’re also doing science experiments, participating in Zumba and taking virtual field trips.
Sisters Chloe and Selena Applegate, 5th grade students at Southwest Elementary, are taking “Animal Adventures” and “Nature Explorations” as part of SAIL.
“The girls love animals, nature and to draw,” said their mother, Maria Applegate. “So far they've enjoyed making little videos of their ‘creations.’ They are so excited!”
Because of the success of the virtual format, Newberry said the teachers have already started gathering ideas on how they can include a blend of virtual and face-to-face learning in next summer’s programming.