Education commissioner visits Maury County school as students combat learning loss

Education commissioner visits Maury County school as students combat learning loss

Tennessee Education Commission Penny Schwinn rolled through Maury County Tuesday morning as part of her summer bus tour throughout the state.

The stop is one of her last on the “Accelerating TN” tour, visiting 50 school districts across the state aimed at recognizing summer learning programs, including programs aimed at counteracting learning loss during the pandemic.

Schwinn, who has served in the role since January 2019, stopped at Whitthorne Middle School in Columbia to visit two summer school classes.

During the visit Tuesday morning, Schwinn assisted 14-year-old Emily Vance as she reviewed multiplication with positive and negative numbers. She also shared a desk with Ella Swartz and Brooklyn Mckissack, both 12, while they worked through a reading assignment on reasoning and critical thinking skills.

“I am seeing students who are excited and engaged at being in summer camp, and I am seeing teachers who have tons of energy,” Schwinn said before hopping back on the bus to visit schools in Williamson and Davidson counties.

The stop at the campus marks her second visit to the county within the year, following a March visit to Battle Creek Elementary School.

Summer learning in Maury County

In Maury County, more than $1.8 million was approved to support summer programs, targeted at improving reading and math skills.

“We have hosted summer camps before but never on the scale that we did this year,” said Drew Norman, a history teacher at Columbia Central High School, who oversees the school district’s summer programs.

From June 7 through July 2, the school system’s learning loss and bridge camps are held from Monday through Thursday, while STAR Summer Camps are held on Fridays. STREAM mini-camps also offer additional project-based learning in mathematics and English Language Arts.

“Once things got rolling, it’s almost like a regular school year, but with smaller classes and more one-on-one time with teachers,” Norman said. “It has been an opportunity to get students to really enjoy school and experience the attention and fun that learning can be. Most of the site directors and teachers that I talk to think there has been a lot of growth in students. Until we have test scores, we can’t measure that but it seems that it has been very beneficial to students.”

Courtesy – The daily herald

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