- Orange County School District
Summer Scholars Academy Week 4 Featured Site: Pathways Elementary
Ms. Karessa Lattimore is the site director for the Summer Scholars Academy site at Pathways Elementary. She is a recent NC Principal Fellow, and she holds a Master’s in Administration from the NC State University Principal Preparation Program.
Ms. Lattimore said the best thing about Summer Scholars Academy at Pathways has been the staff's ability to pull together to do whatever it takes to give the students the best experience possible.
“Each and every one of our staff members are going above and beyond to help our students grow but not just academically also socially and emotionally. We are all in this together,” she said. “Teachers are getting out of their comfort zones and learning how to instruct in different grade levels or different types of enrichments that they didn’t know about before SSA. I know many staff members have had to stretch themselves to give to our students.”
Upon reflection, Ms. Lattimore said her favorite aspect of the job has been building relationships with the students, parents and staff. She said that staff and students have been welcoming to her as she began this journey in Orange County, right after her Principal Residency.
“I love the air hugs and fist bumps!” she said.
When challenges arise, or “hiccups,” as Ms. Lattimore describes, she asks questions and leans into others—like the principal or assistant principal—for extra expertise, when needed.
Ms. Lattimore said learning in ongoing into Session 2 of SSA. Last week, K-3 explored the Exciting World of Animals. Students in grades 3-5 are also exploring animals, writing stories and investigating current events that include animal topics.
Summer Scholars Academy is unique because it gives every child the opportunity to be successful in a variety of enrichment activities. “Coding sounds difficult, but when the students are given the opportunity to ask questions and take it slowly, they feel inspired to keep learning and trying,” said M. Lattimore. “The kindergarteners are also being exposed to science in extended blocks that they may not have received during the school year. And hands-on experiences really make a difference to students who aren’t necessarily interested in the ‘class of the past.’”
Ms. Lattimore noted that student performance has increased in phonics and problem solving. And this greatly boosts student confidence levels.
“Teachers feel with the smaller class sizes and loosened time constraints, they are able to spend more time addressing discrepancies with decoding and reading strategies for their students,” she added. “I am very excited about the growth that is taking place within our program.”