Spring Fling offers ideas, activities to prevent summer learning loss

Large crowd participates in festivities

Students and their families represented the four Comer schools in high style at the Spring Fling, with more than 300 people filling Hartsville Middle School. The Spring Fling, sponsored by the PULSE program, and funded by the TEACH Foundation, was designed to help parents and caregivers learn creative ways to prevent summer learning loss. Nearly a dozen community organizations set up booths to share ideas for summer activities.

Sharman Poplava, executive director of the TEACH Foundation, was delighted with the turnout. “This is a busy time of year and it was wonderful to see so many parents and children take the time to see what resources Hartsville has for children during the summer months.”

Justin Dunham, Comer facilitator for the Darlington County School District (DCSD) welcomed the crowd by quoting an African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.” He then introduced each of the villages that help raise children in Hartsville—ranging from the family and school to the participants of the resource fair that set up table top exhibits featuring the services they offer to stem the loss of learning over the summer months.

“Our village is here tonight,” Dunham explained to the crowd. “We start with the Comer program. It's a national program that's about changing processes in our schools and reorganizing them to educate the whole child. Our village is here tonight."

Some highlights of activities for children included:

  • The Hartsville Museum offers many art and cultural exhibits, as well as numerous historical displays, at no cost

  • The Hartsville Memorial Library provides free cards for books, DVDs/CDs, reference materials and more

  • Girl Scouts of America is featuring a special program in Hartsville this summer

  • The Boys and Girls Club of the Pee Dee provides a variety of sports, fitness and recreation, as well as character development and leadership skills

For details on all the vendors at the resource fair, use this link.

The Spring Fling also featured five breakout sessions and a variety of activities for children in the gym. The sessions included:

  • Understanding Child Development with Dr. Camille Cooper from Yale University Child Study Center and the Comer School Development Program;

  • Literacy Matters: How Can Parents Help? with Mrs. Kathryn White, literacy specialist

  • Family Games/Learning Applications with Mrs. Brandy Benjamin, Grade 3 teacher, Thornwell School for the Arts

  • Helping Children Cope with Change with Mrs. Aimee Knight, MS, LPCI, Solid Rock Family Counseling Services, LLC

  • Classroom Dojo Application: Positive Classroom Management with Mr. Spencer Gaither, Exceptional Education, Thornwell School for the Arts

By helping families understand that learning loss does not need to happen, the breakout sessions offered concrete ways to encourage and participate in summer learning opportunities.

The evening's activities also included a boxed dinner, family games, face painting and two performances; one by the percussion ensemble at West Hartsville, let by Mr. Marlin Ketter, and the second, Thornwell School for the Arts ensemble performed three songs, led by Diane Pauley, music teacher for TSA's magnet school.