It has now been eleven weeks since the start of Student U’s brand new 21st Century Community Learning Center Middle School Year Round Program! Since September 30, the third floor of W.G. Pearson Middle School has been filled daily with the love, laughter, and brilliance of our hardworking middle school students and Year Round Program (YRP) staff. We are so thankful to have this new space to support and connect with our middle school students every day.
Each day, our middle school students board Durham Public School (DPS) buses at their middle school campuses and travel to YRP at W.G. Pearson Middle School. When students arrive to Pearson, they are provided with a healthy snack by DPS and have time to reconnect with their peers and decompress from the school day. When the weather is nice, most students and staff can be found out on the field catching up with each other and playing. Pickup soccer and football games have quickly become the activities of choice for many of our students and staff!
After enjoying snack and free time, students move upstairs with their YRP family to Study Skills. During this time, Family Heads lead their families in setting goals, prioritizing their work, and staying organized. Students are practicing healthy study habits like keeping a planner, making to-do lists, and revisiting material from class in creative ways – all while getting their homework done! Those who need additional support work with educational specialists who focus on teaching important literacy skills. When homework is complete, there are plenty of options from which students can choose, from online enrichment to critical thinking games to enjoying a great book. No book? No problem! Book Harvest has supplied us with free books that are just waiting to be picked up out of the hallway library.
While developing strong academic skills and habits is crucial, we also know that our students walk into the halls of W.G. Pearson every day with other incredible talents and skills – and that’s where Clubs come in. After Study Skills concludes, students move to elective classes focused on the arts, STEM, athletics, and leadership. These Clubs are as diverse and brilliant as our students are, and the hallway truly comes alive during this time. Drop into Ms. Tess’s Playwriting class to see students writing scenes on social justice issues, take a look into the cafeteria where Ms. Schara’s class is practicing their step routine, or visit the computer lab where Ms. Cheslea’s students are building websites full of their own poetry – the options are abundant and the brilliance is evident!
The typical YRP day may be over once clubs end and dismissal begins, but the amazing accomplishments of our middle school students and staff extend far beyond the walls of W.G. Pearson. As a result of the hard work of our students, their families, and our teachers, Student U students are thriving in school, succeeding academically and becoming leaders of their peers. It has truly been an incredible eleven weeks. We are so grateful for the time and space we now get to share as a community every day, and we are both excited and ready to continue creating a space where our students can dream fearlessly and discover their best selves!