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FOCUS creates summer learning opportunities

Lyford Cay Foundations program completes seventh summer
  • A FOCUS Summer SLAM participant works on her project.

  • Eryn Deveaux and Janae Stevens make their presentation at FOCUS Summer SLAM.

Published: Aug 21, 2017

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Completing its seventh Summer SLAM, FOCUS, a program of the Lyford Cay Foundations, engaged almost 180 students this summer in solving real world problems.

In the FOCUS Summer Slam, students took part in project-based learning activities.

Fifth through sixth grade students explored the world of Lego robotics. They worked together to build and program their own robots.

Seventh and eighth grade students created math games aimed at teaching critical concepts.

Ninth grade students were challenged to design a school that would keep their peers engaged in learning.

Quincy Jarvis, 12, a student at H.O. Nash Junior High School said he has always liked math, but that learning how to figure out codes to make an online game was hard. He said once they figured out the codes it was easy.

“The best and hardest part was working as a team,” said Cherish Walker, 10, who will attend S.C. McPherson Junior School in the new academic year.

“It wasn’t easy, but we learned to mix all of our ideas together and produce a great project,” she said.

The Summer SLAM took place June 26–August 4 at the University of The Bahamas (UB) campus.

The summer proved to be a time of growth and learning for both students and the teaching interns, who are key to the program’s success.

“I was excited to meet my students,” said Alexus Francis, a first-year intern who taught eighth grade. “This experience allowed me to learn to teach different personalities and to sharpen my classroom management skills.”

Many students and interns noted that FOCUS helped them grow in ways that were more than just academic.

Approximately 50 additional students in grades 10 and 11 continued with “On Course to College” (OCTC) – the second phase of FOCUS, which transitions from project-based learning to more individualized summer learning experiences.

This summer, small groups of OCTC students took on volunteer leadership roles at Summer SLAM and participated in the FOCUS Summer Seminar, which underscored success in high school and preparation for college.

FOCUS is a tuition-free, extra curricular enrichment program aimed at college readiness and access for public school students of demonstrated potential and need from the northwestern school district. Students begin the program the summer after fourth grade with the goal of being the first in their families to achieve post-secondary education.

Students attend sessions on 15 Saturdays during the school year and 30 days in the summer. Programming emphasizing the development of the whole student, and a strong teaching team committed to making learning exciting, are hallmarks of FOCUS. The teachers consist mainly of UB students from the School of Education.

Lyford Cay Foundation, Inc. and The Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation are private philanthropic organizations established in 1969 and 1977, respectively. The foundations’ mission is to invest in learning opportunities for children, young adults, families and communities, all made possible by the generosity of donors. Through a variety of programs, the foundations assist children in school as they prepare for college, students leaving school with scholarships to attend college in The Bahamas and abroad, and non-profits providing learning opportunities. To date, nearly $50 million has been invested in the lives of Bahamians.

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