• Pilot program helps north St. Louis students learn during summer

    7:54 PM, Jul 25, 2013
    By Tracy Clemons

    ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - For the first time in years, St. Louis public schools are not on the list of unaccredited districts. Improved test scores helped the district gain provisional accreditation last year. 

    So this summer, one program aims to make sure students are staying sharp. It's called the Sanctuary, and it is aimed at students in the city's 21st Ward. 

    Teachers are working with them this summer to reenergize them, make learning fun and making sure they don't fall behind like so many kids do during the summer. 

    "I decided to come because there wasn't anything to do at the house and it's an opportunity to learn more stuff before I go back to school," says rising eighth grader Marnesha Carter. 

    Carter is one of 60 kids enrolled in the program. 

    "We're trying to catch kids from this neighborhood, the 21st Ward, and give them the opportunity to not only improve their reading and writing skills, but get them re-energized and excited about learning by providing some different alternative projects than what they would see during the normal school year," says teacher Kelly Lovett. 

    There's a focus on math and science. 

    "I've learned how to do experiments, how to use math in my later life, when I get older," Carter says. 

    This is a pilot program and is part of a larger program called North Campus, spearheaded by 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French. 

    "We actually are taking a direct involvement in every child's life over here starting with the 60 that we've enrolled this summer. We'll expand it to up to 500 in the fall, and eventually be able to service all 1,800 kids under the age of 18 in the 21st Ward," says French. 

    During the first part of the day, the students learn. The second part is all about outings like to the MX Building and movie theater downtown. 

    "The biggest stories that stand out to me are the students that come in not really interested in it thinking 'ok this is fine but when do we get to go to the pool,' but then really get engaged in the projects and excited about what they're doing," Lovett says. 

    Marnesha Carter says she hopes to take most of what she's learned at the Sanctuary back to school with her in the fall, as long as she remembers it. 

    Antonio French says they plan to expand the program every year. 

    It's funded by grants and private donations.

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    To watch the report, click here.