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Last Updated: 02/23/2018

 Article of Interest - Education

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Watkins Unveils Summer Learning Program

Gongwer News Service, June 4, 2003

Read the MDE Press Release - click here.

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Before a rapt audience of 6, 7 and 8-year-olds, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins unveiled a new program that could have them doing school work throughout the summer.   The new FAMILY FUNdamentals for Summer Learning program provides teachers and parents a variety of activities to assist students with reading over the summer.


The pilot program is intended to prevent "summer slide" for those students who traditionally do not have access to learning activities during break.   The initial packet is targeted to reading for preschoolers through second grade, but Mr. Watkins said an expanded document due out in the fall would expand into math.


"For many children, especially the most needy, education can wane during the summer months," he said.


State Board of Education member Liz Bauer (D-Birmingham) urged the students to ask their teachers from projects form the packet.   "If you are good readers you can do anything," she said.   "I'm hoping that you as students will be asking you teachers to develop summer learning plans."


The packet is available at the Department of Education Web site, but Mr. Watkins urged local schools and parent groups to print and distribute the materials to parents who may not have ready access to the Internet.


Department Of Education Spearheads Effort To Curb Summer Learning Decline
Michigan Dept. of Education Press Release, June 4, 2003

LANSING – Michigan unveiled a new state effort today to reverse the summer learning decline that affects more than half of all of the state’s students.
“For some students, summer is usually a time for fun and play. However, this period also is the time when students do not attend school and they lose some of the reading and mathematics skills gained during the academic year, “ said Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins. “As a result of this decline, schools and teachers are forced to spend valuable time during the next school year helping students relearn lost knowledge and skills.”
To increase student achievement throughout the summer, the Michigan Department of Education has developed FAMILY FUNdamentals for Summer Learning – a kit that contains more than 200 literacy building activities teachers can select for students advancing from preschool through second grade to practice with their parents at home.
Learning activities are aligned with state education standards and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Literacy activities in the kit focus on the five essential components of reading instruction including phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, fluency and vocabulary, contain varied degrees of difficulty, and are separated by grade level.
“Summer is ideal for families to provide the time, learning experiences and practice needed to reinforce and promote learning,” said Kathleen Straus, State Board of Education President. “Providing children and parents with easy activities to practice over the summer will assure steady academic achievement for all students and is especially critical for the children in our low performing schools.”
These activities are being distributed on a pilot basis over the Internet and are available to download in PDF on MDE’s web site at:
In September, schools will be receiving an additional Family FUNdamentals Compact Disk (CD) containing hundreds of school year take home activities, as well as math and literacy summer learning activities. The September CD will be made possible through a partnership with the Michigan Department of Education, Wayne RESA, and Partnership for Learning.
Please share this information with your teachers, members, staff to fully utilize this valuable resource.
Thank You.
Janet L. Ellis
State of Michigan/MDE-OSE
608 W. Allegan, 4th Floor, Suite D-19
Lansing, MI 48933
(517) 373-9391
(517) 373-1233 fax



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