Summer Immersion Excursion Program
Opening Doors to the Opportunity of a Lifetime
Since its start in 2012 as a small summer program for Newly Arrived English Learners (ELs), Summer Immersion Excursion (SIE) has grown exponentially. Thanks in part to the generous financial support of the Batten Family Fund, Albemarle County has expanded this program to welcome a vast range of multilingual and multicultural students in Grades 4-9. For the first time in 2019, we included Long-Term ELs and students transitioning between elementary, middle, and high school. Additionally, we welcomed three exceptional program alumni who paid it forward by serving as student Teacher Assistants. Long before the ELs were invited to attend the five-week session, a dedicated team of educators gathered to plan the learning opportunities for students under the umbrella theme of "life journeys."
Students began each morning by enganging in hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities to promote creative and collaborative problem-solving skills. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays consisted of instructional rotations, bridging the language of Math, History, and Science. Additionally, students created digital "My Life Project" presentations to connect their personal experiences with language learning across the content areas.
A highlight of the program--in additional to accelerating students’ language acquisition and acculturation to U.S. schools--were the weekly excursions every Thursday. During the 2019 summer, students participated in educational trips to:
- Montpelier, to explore our regional history that is often overlooked and misunderstood;
- Science Museum of Virginia, to learn about our world through collaborative, hands-on experimentation;
- Frontier Culture Museum, to connect our personal journeys with immigration stories across history; across
- Walnut Creek, to participate in outdoor, team-building activities with Rivanna River Company and Rivanna Conservation Alliance.
During their month together, students developed new friendships and shared their personal stories. All of their stories revealed a resilience and perseverance that was contagious. Their joy of learning created a foundation upon which to build their future successes.
This program would not have been possible without the hard work and collaboration of a myriad of dedicated school personnel and the generosity of local partners. We extend special thanks to all of our excursion hosts, the Batten Family Fund, and the Agnor-Hurt Elementary School team for hosting us. The most rewarding aspect were the students' themselves, who brought their willingness to learn, take risks, work hard, and build new relationships after facing a variety of challenges to get where they are today.
SIE in the News:
¡धन्यवाद. Gracias. شكرا. спасибо. Thank you. Merci. Asante!