Schools — St. Croix
St. Croix Public Schools Summer Programs Target Academics and Social Progress
St. Croix’s public schools are officially on a scheduled summer break, nonetheless academic and social activities to pique students’ motivation to learn are ongoing. Generally, the summer classes are fun and relaxed, yet with an intensive learning regimen.
A selected group of students are getting a taste of campus life through the Junior University initiative. “Males with a Promise” Junior Universityis catering to 7th grade boys who are taking academic courses in English, mathematics and language arts for enrichment purposes, and a vocational course in carpentry at the University of the Virgin Islands campus.
Additionally, about 130 secondary students are schooling in the MESA (Mathematics Environmental Science Academy) program at St. Croix Educational Complex. They are involved in intense research and field studies to help resolve some of the pressing environmental issues facing the Virgin Islands. “Our focus is to ensure that our students are engaged in academic pursuits that will foster interest in mathematics, science, technology and engineering and lead to careers dedicated to preserving the environment,” said Rosa White, MESA and district science coordinator. “This is an exciting time for our young people as we better prepare them for the future.”
Meanwhile, the Credit Recovery Program is in progress at every public school on the island, except for Claude O. Markoe Elementary, which is undergoing improvements to its physical plant. Besides enriching the basic understanding of subjects, Credit Recovery allows students to improve borderline scores to help meet promotion or graduation requirements.
Alongside enrichment classes at St. Croix Central High School (CHS), the Carib Project, in its fourth year, is generating much interest. Foremost under the umbrella of CHS Carib Project is the Summer Workshops for Incoming Ninth Graders, more commonly called the SWING program. “It’s a good way to get their feet wet before they come on day one,” explained Denise L. Gomes, Carib Project program director. “This early introduction to the (CHS) campus, administration, faculty and staff makes their transition into their most challenging academic year much smoother and less stressful. Our focus is to make learning fun.” SWING is designed to counter the challenges of high school freshmen who are at-risk nationwide because of higher failure and retention rates than students in the upper grade levels.
Approximately 64 students going into the 9th grade at CHS from feeder junior highs, private and parochial schools are currently receiving academic enrichment in language arts, mathematics and computer skills through the SWING program. Additionally, the prospective 9th grade learners are carefully guided through interactive, hands-on activities on topics such as friendship, decision making, conflict resolution, building strong self-esteem and career pathways.
Another facet of the Carib Project this summer is the Arts and Trade Exploration Program, an extension of CHS’s after school program. The program is opened to CHS students in grades 10th to 12th not requiring enrichment courses. Academics aside, these pioneering students are engaging in interesting and interactive activities including visual arts, photography, videography, culinary arts, drama/theater, martial arts, music, publishing, swimming, carpentry, and book and computer access groups. “Each group will produce several student-driven mini-projects and participate in a major culminating activity,” Gomes said. “Students will explore careers in the various fields and learn the entrepreneurial skills required to make money using these talents.”
The CHS Carib Project is funded through a U.S. Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. The project’s summer programs are offered free of charge to students. The last day for CHS Carib Project is Friday, July 20.
Persons interested in contributing ideas, supplies or time to the Arts and Trade Exploration Program at CHS may call Denise Gomes at 778-0123 or 514-1690.