District hosts English language enrichment camp

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By Kate Phillips, Staff Reporter For the first time, the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District is hosting a summer English language enrichment camp for middle and high school students. Announced during the anEducation Committee meeting on April 8 by Oscar Torres, the camp will bring students learning the English language together from June 21 to June 25...

By Kate Phillips, Staff Reporter

For the first time, the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District is hosting a summer English language enrichment camp for middle and high school students. Announced during the anEducation Committee meeting on April 8 by Oscar Torres, the camp will bring students learning the English language together from June 21 to June 25 for a free, week-long virtual teaching session ending with an optional field trip to Valley Forge National Park.

For the past ten years, elementary students have had the opportunity to attend the TESD Summer Reading Camp, but with the introduction of the new summer camp this year, students in middle and high school will get an opportunity to improve upon their English as well.

The process of extending an English camp to middle and high school students has been ongoing for a few years. In 2020, the district applied for a Title III Federal Grant, which focuses on creating opportunities for English learners to improve their skills. The Title III funds will provide the necessary resources for the 2021 summer English language enrichment camp. The Title III Grant was especially helpful this summer regarding COVID-19. Angela Pavloff, an English Language Department teacher at T/E Middle School, spoke on some of the other challenges present in the planning process.

“Once the camp was approved and finances secured, the current COVID-19 pandemic was the greatest challenge. Due to the pandemic, enrollment of international students was lower than usual,” Pavloff said.

While English learners in the district’s elementary schools have historically had the opportunity to attend summer camps, this year, Pavloff started advocating for a camp that extended to middle and high school students.

“The elementary schools have been offering summer camps for their English learners for years. I was simply lobbying for the middle and high schools to follow suit. We are thankful that we can offer this opportunity now, albeit at a less opportune time that requires us to meet virtually,” Pavloff said.

Sarah Taylor, an English Language Department teacher at Conestoga, was also part of the planning process and will be leading the summer camp.

“For a long time I was a Spanish teacher, then I switched over to teaching English, so I know what it’s like to learn another language and to kind of see it from the other side. Teaching another language and then switching over: it made me want to do this even more. The camp is just offering more opportunities for students who really just want to practice and also so that they can talk to their classmates more, especially this year,” Taylor said.

After the 2021 debut, the district hopes to continue the camp each summer in cooperation with the Title III Funds. After this summer, the district will both revise the camp based on feedback and look to create other possible summer learning camps in the future.

Pavloff spoke to the benefits of the camp, many of which extend beyond simply improving English-speaking proficiency.  The camp also meets the district’s hope of strengthening the community, especially this year.

“The ELD summer camp enhances social, emotional and academic learning and, we hope, is fun-filled as well,” Pavloff said.

With the efforts from Sarah Taylor and Angela Pavloff and Oscar Torres, the head of the district English Language Department Program, opportunities will be formed for students in all grades to improve their proficiency.

“It has provided me with the opportunity to get to know our students and families that are new to this country, community and the English language. It reminds me of my own journey as a child that led me to Pennsylvania from Puerto Rico. My goal is to make sure that every student is provided with the opportunities they deserve to demonstrate their academic success,” Torres said.


Kate Phillips can be reached at [email protected]

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