Highlights from 2016:

In March 2016, Kids on Course teamed up with Coe College to provide then 6th graders with a “day-in-the-life” of a college student. Sixth graders went to Coe for the day: taking classes, eating in the cafeteria, playing games on the lawn, doing students activities, and hanging out with athletes. This hands-on experience gave students a chance to explore their own interests. Students picked their classes and activities. The goal of Kids on Course is to put and keep students on a course towards college graduation and this first-hand experience on a college campus showed students what it takes to have success at college.

#scholarcamp, our first ever middle school summer camp was launched in June 2016. The program served over 100 6th and 7th graders from Wilson and Roosevelt. Students came early every morning for breakfast and spent the remainder of the day reading high-interest novels, doing project-based learning like designing a dream room or fantasy basketball league, and working on math facts. The day ended with lunch, except for a once-a-week field trip to places like Air FX or Super Skate. Attendance was high, hundreds of books were read, and middle school students were engaged in learning throughout the summer!

July 2016 brought the expansion of Kids on Course University to 15 elementary schools across the Cedar Rapids Community School District. Five “super sites” across Cedar Rapids hosted students from three elementary schools each. The Kids on Course University Harrison site hosted Grant, Harrison, and Van Buren. At the five sites, over 550 students were served two meals a day, given instruction in reading and math, and were given recess and enrichment time five days a week for 6 weeks. Many super sites embraced the then-upcoming Rio Olympics as a theme and gave out gold medals for positive behavior and had student participate in water Olympic Games, among many other Olympic themed activities.

Kids on Course expanded the after-school Learning Lab in fall 2016. Learning Lab offers academic instruction to students at KOC elementary and middle schools to students of all academic achievement levels. At Grant, Harrison, and Van Buren, there are over 500 students participating in after school Learning Lab activities. Learning Lab is not remedial tutoring, but works to push all students forward in their reading and math skills. Mad Scientists (adult leaders) instruct students in math and literacy projects such as a school newspaper, a school Green Team, science experiments, researching animals, etc.

It’s not possible to mention all of the great stories, memories, and successes we have seen this year. As a Kids on Course team, 2016 has been a year of learning and growing. We learn from each other, from the staff in KOC schools, and from students.  As we enter a new year, we are excited about the future of our students and Kids on Course. Thank you to everyone who has made 2016 a successful and fun year.

– Greg White, Van Buren Site Manager