Fayette County Public Schools introduces 'Summer Ignite'

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Posted at 6:09 PM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 19:08:47-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Fayette County Public Schools is taking a new approach to summer school this year and it's comparable to summer camp with an academic twist.

Each of their 67 schools and programs are participating and have chosen a theme of their own.

Leestown Middle School was transformed to Leestown de Fuego.

"Which means Leestown on fire," explained administrator Ali Wright. "The majority of our students are Hispanic and do speak Spanish and most of our families do as well, so we wanted it, we wanted our theme to really embrace who we are as a school and as a community."

The tie-dye shirts with a melting popsicle on the back were designed by 7th-grade student Krisean Smith. He chose to attend Summer Ignite because he heard it was fun.

"I never thought I'd be able to do a cooking class at least, or even I've heard there's a pirate class. I never thought I'd be able to do a pirate class, at Leestown. It's like a once in a lifetime thing," said Smith.

Wright runs the Ignite program at Leestown and she says Smith isn't the only student who feels that way.

"We have gotten a lot of great feedback from our kids about how much fun they've had and we ask them and trust me, they'll tell you whether they're having fun or not at school," said Wright.

There are games, theatre classes, crafts, cooking, carnival-themed math, and pirate classes, just to name a few of their offerings.

"Anything that you see or that we are seeing happening in our schools is not normal. It is unique opportunities. We have a lot of community partners involved in coming in and working with our schools, a lot of enrichment. A lot of challenging stimulating sports, physical fitness, theatre drama, arts going on, with an academic focus as well," said Mendy Mills, Associate Director of Title I.

Some of those partners are the Lexington Children's Theatre and YMCA.

After a year of virtual schooling and a lack of true interaction, Mills says they really wanted to work in a creative transition for students and teachers.

"I would say reintroducing them, but also meeting their needs, socially, students have missed out on being with their friends," said Mills.

There's still learning happening here and credit recovery, but there's also an understanding that this is very different.

"I have taught summer school, many many many many times and the difference is, this is a place where kids want to be. It's not punitive. Kids aren't here because they didn't do something, or because they did something wrong," said Wright.

If your student attends FCPS, you can sign up by reaching out to the school's Ignite coordinator.