Students across the county opted this summer for a first-of-its-kind enrichment opportunity aimed at addressing potential learning loss related to the pandemic.

With less than a month left in their summer vacation, students at every public school in Glynn County signed up to return to their campus for two weeks of learning and activities focused on STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The camps looked different at each school, where staffers were able to design their own programming and order gadgets and equipment to support STEM education.

At Glynn Academy, 20 students participated in the program, which wrapped up Thursday. In a science classroom last week, GA students slid smartphones into virtual reality goggles and peered through the headsets to see a variety of immersive views, including roller coaster rides and shark tank interiors.

The activity was one of many that engaged the students in interactive education. They also explored engineering, robotics and physics, both on campus and during field trips.

The goal was to get the students back on campus this summer for enriching activities, said Darren Landinguin, assistant principal at Glynn Academy.

“It is to allow them to have an opportunity to engage in activities that will really enrich their potential introduction to STEM,” he said. “It’s an enrichment camp really. It’s academic, but it’s really enrichment.”

Glynn County Schools’ administrators proposed the idea of marketing summer enrichment through fun activities on campus this year.

“Most of the schools are doing some type of STEM-related activity … We’re even doing drone flights,” said Tracolya Green, assistant superintendent for 6-21 curriculum, during the Glynn County Board of Education’s work session this month. “I ordered drones for every site.”

Principals were also encouraged to invite students who struggled over the past school year with virtual learning for extra learning opportunities, Green said.

College of Coastal Georgia supported the initiative and last week representatives from the college shared information with Brunswick High and Glynn Academy students about the world of esports, which is rapidly growing and attracting many young gamers.

Bryson Cole, who founded the first esports club at the college in 2019, said it’s already become one of the most popular organizations on campus, attracting more than 80 members.

“Esports has been growing for a very long time,” Cole told the Glynn Academy students. “2018 was the first year that it really hit the pinnacle of being notable, when it actually passed the NBA Finals and the Super Bowl in terms of viewership.”

The college hosted the students at an esports event last week.

The STEM activities designed for the two weeks of camp will also blend into educational opportunities during the regular school year, Landinguin said.

“The goal was to order things that can also be used within the realm of our typical school year,’” he said. “… Our math department could use some of the robotics and the TI programming. These are great resources absolutely.”

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