In August of this past summer, the Belmont Hill classrooms were bustling with chatter and excitement. Summer Scholars had recently begun, with new Belmont Hill students treading the path of many before them, hoping not to get lost on the campus. Instead of the Head Start program, which was held every summer for new incoming students, Mr. Masiiwa, Mr. Smith, and others on the faculty constructed a two-week plan for preparing incoming Belmont Hill students for the coming year—the Summer Scholars program. This new summer program was established to offer a more comprehensive program than that of the old Head Start program, and hopefully, it will have contributed to a smoother transition into the school for many newcomers. Because of the pandemic, many middle school students fell behind as their respective schools’ curricula, and more comprehensive summer program became necessary. Summer Scholars was a great first introduction for many incoming Belmont Hill students. The two-week program allowed them to meet their peers and gain more comfort in the curriculum.
Each day, beginning at 8:30, the students split into several classrooms—each with a teacher and a couple of older student mentors. The day was split into two sections: math and humanities. After the math section in the morning, the students had snack time—an obvious favorite. They got to meet with the larger group and many went outside, playing football and spikeball. The students also met several older students and teachers. Given the smiles on the faces of the students inside and outside the classroom, they had a blast learning new material and meeting their peers.
Because of the pandemic, Summer Scholars was necessary for this past summer, but the scale of this project will most likely not be needed as we move past COVID. Given the success of this past summer, some aspects of the Summer Scholars program are sure to be implemented in the coming summers. Overall, the program was a success, as all of those involved agree.