Mobile County Schools literacy camps help keep students on track

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A different kind of summer camp is helping to keep students on track in Mobile County — it’s a literacy camp.

School officials say there is a greater need for these literacy camps this year because of COVID-19.

Students at John Will Elementary are eager to show up to school this month, even though it is summer.

“To see them leave every day with smiles on their faces and come back each and every day for more,” said Deidre Jefferson, principal of John Will Elementary School.

The students are there for literacy camp, learning the fundamentals of reading.

“It is awesome, it’s a wonderful experience. To see students who were struggling to see improvement,” Jefferson said.

Last year, the Alabama Literacy Act went into place. The act ensures all students are at or above the third-grade reading level by the end of the third grade. The first year was virtual with about 1,000 students taking courses the summer. This year, 3,000 students are enrolled in Mobile County Public Schools Literacy Camps.

“Many of our school students do struggle, to have something provided like this for our schools as a resource tool, where we can go back and reach back and pull those students that may have had a deficiency in whatever area. Be able to provide resources, and assistance, and structural support, I think is absolutely phenomenal,” said Marcus Jackson, the elementary ELA K-5 Curriculum Specialist with MCPSS.

Coronavirus did cause a strain for Mobile County students, and officials hope programs like this one will help students get back on track.

“This pandemic has definitely created obstacles for our students. I’m more than confident that once everyone comes back to school face to face, that we will be successful in closing those gaps,” said Jefferson.

Fifth Quarter, which is for 1st-11th grade students who failed a course, begins next month. The school system says they are anticipating more students this year, and they are expanding the program to dozens of school campuses.

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