This summer Tecumseh Public Schools (TPS) partnered with the Lenawee Intermediate School District’s (LISD) Cradle to Career Literacy Network to provide Summer Lit Lab Pop-Ups twice a week at Tecumseh Compass Learning Center. These free workshops are jam-packed with hands-on learning including STEM exploration, writing labs, read-alouds, art and makerspaces, and other fun activities designed to support summer literacy.
The Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators selected TPS, along with Parish Park, as model sites for this summer literacy initiative and are creating a film to capture the essence of what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like for a school district to host an ambitious summer literacy program. They have partnered with MessageMakers out of Lansing to create the film.
Mellissa Wilson, Director of LISD CEMat, Curriculum Consultant, and member of the Early Literacy Task Force, explained why Tecumseh was selected as a model site.
“One thing that they wanted to do was show both an embedded literacy initiative within a school system, but then also a community effort, so we thought Tecumseh,” Wilson said. “You have it twice a week, and also because of that embedded literacy support and the small group instruction that you’re providing as an additional piece, that reflects the essential practices.”
MessageMaker was on-site at Tecumseh Compass on July 17 to film learners creating copper circuits, reverse engineering computers, and wind-up toys, as well as creating art and building catapults. These activities were based on a theme inspired by the read-aloud books that opened the Lit Lab, The Very Lonely Firefly and Whoosh!
Wilson sees this as an evolution to the traditional summer school model, and is proud that Lenawee County is leading the way with this initiative.
“There are no other counties doing similar things, so we were asked to highlight the work we are doing, because traditionally there is summer school and it’s a two-week boot camp or they send home some books to read,” Wilson said. “It doesn’t have the same impact of what we are trying to do here, with the goal to reach every child, for free, along with providing free books. Lenawee is leading the way, and we’re super excited that Tecumseh is a part of it.”
When finished, the film will serve as the example for state and educational leaders of the best practices for a summer literacy programming.
The Lit Lab Pop-Ups will continue through August 16. TPS learners from young 5s through sixth grade are invited to visit Compass Early Learning Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Adults are encouraged to attend with their children.