Enhancing Education

Catholic Schools’ Summer Programs Fill Families’ Needs


Even after the final bell signals the end of the school year, Catholic schools remain a vital part of children’s education through the summer months with programs that help close the learning gap. Ascension Catholic Academy’s (ACA) SLAM program in Minneapolis and St. Joseph Catholic School’s Camp Invention in Waconia provide meaningful enrichment for families.

This summer, ACA’s six-week SLAM program will host more than 200 students from Ascension Catholic School in Minneapolis, St. John Paul II Catholic Preparatory School in northeast Minneapolis and St. Peter Claver Catholic School in
St. Paul. For five years, ACA teachers in SLAM have helped students combat summer learning loss, improved language and literacy skills, and provided regular nutritious meals and exercise. Bus service is also provided for the students.

“I was so delighted to hear about the ACA SLAM program,” said Racquel Hymon, who sends her child to SLAM. “It will bridge my child to the next grade level as well as maintain his academic skills while being able to enjoy his summer.”

Another benefit of the program is filling child care needs, since many families struggle to find a faith-based, caring and safe environment for their children in the summer. Without these programs, parents would have little to no options for their children.

“Parents were in tears as they thanked us for this opportunity,” said Patrick Exner, SLAM director of Instructional Leadership. “They didn’t know what they would do with their kids during the workday. SLAM allows parents to breathe easier knowing their kids are in a safe, faith-filled and loving environment.”

Exner added, “Beyond academic growth, we also care deeply about and invest in the development of the whole child. Our SLAM theme is ‘I know something GOOD about YOU,’ and we are intentional in helping our students grow in faith and self-confidence.”

In Waconia, students at St. Joseph Catholic School will get to explore, have big ideas and make innovations when they host their first Camp Invention in June. Licensed teachers will lead students through engaging, problem-solving challenges.

“It’s an awesome weeklong summer camp. Children are presented with fun, hands-on challenges that encourage creative problem-solving, teamwork, entrepreneurship and innovation,” explained Amy Gallus, C-STEM curriculum integration specialist at
St. Joseph.

“Camp Invention fits in well with our C-STEM philosophy and continues to develop the 21st-century learning skills,” she added. “We want to provide meaningful year-round opportunities for our students, and this allows students to stay engaged with their school and have several things they can take home with them to continue their investigation all summer long.”

Return to Full Listing

Catholic Schools Center of Excellence