“Ways Students Can Grow Academically Over the Summer”


Amber Parent, Staff Writer

Many students know about the summer slide, which is when students forget skills that they’ve learned throughout the school year, but many faculty members at NFA have recommended ways for students to keep their minds sharp during the summer to avoid this back-to-school difficulty.

Kristie Leonard, director of the Edwin H. Land Library offers a good example.

“I want to encourage as many students to read as possible,” Leonard explains.  “Good readers make good writers, and at some point everybody at NFA is going to be writing a college essay, even if it’s just in English class.” 

Reading is not only informational, but with the perfect book, reading can also be quite enjoyable.

“Reading takes you on your own vacation. Even if you can’t go somewhere with your family, you can always go into a book,” Leonard adds.

Leonard also encourages students to spend some time in the library during the summer.

 “During the summer, the Edwin H. Land Library is open Monday-Friday, from 9am-2pm for any students that want to pop in, or any of the students that are here for the summer program, summer school, etcetera,” she explains.

Not only is reading a good way to keep students’ minds engaged during the summer, but NFA also offers a summer program called the Strive program that takes place for about a month after school, and has been going on for over twenty years. 

Leo Butler, Director of Diversity and the Strive Program, wants students to learn to use their own voices by the end of the program.

“[The purpose] first of all, is to become empowered, to develop a voice for change,” Butler said. Students should also  “understand how to look at something that will benefit the community and learn how to articulate their voices, but have it also based on research, data, and the ability to articulate it in a way that makes sense to people,” he added. 

Lauren Girasoli, a teacher who works in the Strive program, thinks that summer school and summer programs should encourage each students’ personal skills and techniques.

 “I think that the biggest goal is enrichment, letting students learn about something that maybe they didn’t study during the school-year. But, doing it in a way that uses their skills in different academic disciplines,” Girasoli describes. “It’s a lot of skills-based learning and we try to make it as fun and engaging as we can.” 

Kristie Leonard also has another trick up her sleeve for fun summer reading with the summer reading prize program that will really get students interested/engaged.

“Prizes always are something that students attain to, so what we’ve done is, any book that a student reads for fun, during the summer, they just submit a short book review for it, to earn prizes,” Leonard describes.

In conclusion, some simple tricks like reading a book, joining a summer program like Strive for a few weeks, visiting the library, or participating in the summer reading program can help students stay well prepared for the start of the school year, and still have fun during their summer vacation.