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Elementary School Students Spend Summer Exploring Science

Evening Edition

Above: Elementary school students from southeastern San Diego have been spending part of their summer learning about the environment.

Aired 7/23/14 on KPBS News.

Elementary school students from southeastern San Diego have been spending part of their summer learning about the environment.

About 100 second- and third-grade students from southeastern San Diego have been meeting twice weekly for the past month to learn about earth restoration.

The students' meetings take place at EarthLab, a 4-acre San Diego Unified School District property in Encanto. At EarthLab, students improve their scientific literacy with science-focused demonstrations and instruction.

The trips to EarthLab are part of Summer Readers — Future Leaders, a five-week program aimed at bridging the third grade literacy gap. The program has nine partner organizations, including the San Diego Science Project and UCSD CREATE.

On Tuesday, Marne Foster, a San Diego Unified board trustee member, visited EarthLab. She says the program brings the state Common Core standards to life.

"Really what we're talking about now is collaboration and collective impact and that’s what the EarthLab does. For not only the children, but to their families," Foster said. "It opens it up for the community and helps them to learn about the world they live in and sustaining it."

Groundwork San Diego — Chollas Creek manages EarthLab. Leslie Reynolds, Groundwork’s executive director, says EarthLab is important because the Encanto neighborhood is park-deficient.

"We intend to turn this into a learning lab that's not only going to teach the children stewardship, but it's going to improve their academic achievements markedly," Reynolds said.

Gina Gianzero of the Jacobs Center Diamond Educational Excellence Partnership, another one of the Summer Readers — Future Leaders program's partners, says the program serves a population that can benefit from extra educational experiences.

"We want to create opportunities for kids in these communities to have the same growth opportunities," Gianzero said.

The Summer Readers — Future Leaders program ends on Friday.

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