Launching into Summer Learning

TVK8 Project Launch students

Nearly 400 students are launching into learning at Alpine Elementary, Eagle Crest Elementary, and Thunder Valley K-8 this summer. Project Launch gives elementary and middle school students the opportunity to master their reading and math skills during the summer, all while having fun with their classmates!

“We have close to 200 students in kindergarten through fourth grade participating in Project Launch this year,” shared Amber Marsolek, Principal, Alpine Elementary School. “Students and families regularly take part in the program because they know the value of it.” With smaller class sizes, teachers are able to focus more on individual student needs, as well as collaborating with staff to make the program more fun and engaging for all students. 

This year’s theme at Alpine is “Out of This World!” Students participate in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) design challenges, art projects, and inquiries related to outer space, all connected through literacy. “Project Launch keeps students actively learning over the summer. It pushes them to gain new skills in reading and mathematics, and review skills learned during the school year,” explains Marsolek. 

Eagle Crest Elementary School is home to 185 students participating in Project Launch from Longmont Estates, Blue Mountain, and Central Elementary Schools. “We are gifting students time for extended learning opportunities – with the focus on literacy and math,” shared Amanda Holden, Principal, Eagle Crest. Eagle Crest’s theme this year is “Space and Exploration.” Teachers have creatively weaved this into their instruction across all content areas. “Project Launch’s focus is to prepare students for next year by continuing to create positive connections to school and learning, as well as helping to ward off the summer slide,” stated Holden. 

Project Launch Middle School is a four-week, 16-day summer focus program for incoming sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. With 70 students enrolled at Thunder Valley, “Project Launch offers students an additional academic push to start the next school year stronger,” shared Sandra Vazquez, Assistant Principal, Thunder Valley K-8.

Highly-qualified teachers instruct Language Arts and Mathematics in smaller groups, focusing on student needs and differentiating accordingly. In addition, the school counselor provides social-emotional learning to support their ability to recognize feelings. “They learn coping strategies to help them adapt and communicate their needs effectively” explains Vazquez. “They explore mindfulness and relate it to being a responsible part of a community in how we interact and communicate with others and ourselves.”

Students have an Arts-integration elective class that reinforces mathematics, literacy, and science concepts, while creating craft projects which incorporate visual art, movement, and poetry. “I’m getting used to having different classes and helping me get a head start for sixth grade,” shared Alejandra Madera, student at Thunder Valley. “I have been learning to write and read for longer periods of time. My favorite part is learning about math because I like it and it’s fun.”

In addition to ELA, math lessons, SEL lessons, and art lessons, students are working on a “Raptor Tank,” a version of the popular show “Shark Tank.” The purpose of this project is to encourage students to create a product that they believe will enhance people’s day-to-day life. “Each week, during the last thirty minutes of the school day, they work on one step at a time until they have a completed product,” explains Vazquez. The process gives students the opportunity to use their creativity, practice reading and writing skills, collaborate with others, and fine-tune their communication and language skills.

“Project Launch has been fun,” shared Aiden Turner, seventh grader at Thunder Valley. “It’s fun to be able to be a part of something and stay ahead in the summer.”

St. Vrain Valley Schools