BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, one summer learning program in Baltimore has figured out how to navigate the unexpected challenges successfully.
Leaders say they’re planning to implement what they’ve learned over the past few months into the new school year.READ MORE: Maryland Man Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud Conspiracy
Young Audiences’ Summer Arts and Learning Academy, or SALA for short, has been keeping creative students’ minds engaged in learning during the summer for many years now.
“We believe that the arts can help make really wonderful, meaningful connections to other academic areas. It’s what we call arts integration,” President of SALA Stacie Sanders Evans said.
But like many other summer programs this year, SALA went virtual.
Through the five-week free online program, nearly 1,500 Baltimore City Public Schools students had to adapt to this new method of learning.
“I like how they do art and have fun,” said student Logan Myers.
And so did the teachers.READ MORE: Reese, Owusu Lead No. 8 Maryland Women Past Miami
“The interaction time is a little different,” said SALA teacher Sam Grossman.
The summer program pairs local artists up with teachers to teach students literacy and math, while also providing opportunities to express themselves through the arts.
“I tell a story with some puppets, the students also have characters that interact and contribute to the story,” Grossman said.
To work around the various challenges that comes along with online learning, Young Audiences’ had to make some changes, like minimizing class sizes.
“What we’ve learned is we need to create projects that are meaningful to kids,” Sanders Evans said.
On top of engaging video content, supplies are distributed to students every week, encouraging them to learn, grow and create, even when they’re not online.
Parents of students in the program say they’re pleased with the results.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Maryland: 1,700 New Cases Reported As State Surpasses 11K Deaths
“I think this is a great way for kids who are not a traditional learner. If they’re artsy and they like artsy activities, and they’re learning at the same time,” said parent Veronica Washington.