Nearly 600 students from 1st to 12th grades will spend three weeks of their summer developing useful skills, preparing for the new school year, catching up on gaps and participating in interesting learning activities with peers. This will happen during the twelfth free Summer Academy of Teach for Bulgaria.
After two years in an online format due to the pandemic, the academy returns to two Sofia schools ( “Gen. Jose de San Martin” High School 90 in Lyulin district and “Acad. Mihail Arnaudov” High School 119 in Iztok district) for three weeks in July and August.
The official opening of the two academies was today, July 19, in parallel at the two Academy host schools after the students’ first lessons with their new teachers. On the first day, the children also met their new classmates for the first time, played familiarization games and completed diagnostic tests to determine each student’s level of learning needs.
Among the official guests at the opening at School 119 were the head of the Regional Department of Education-Sofia, Vania Kastreva, the school principal, Diyan Stamatov, and Elena Hadzhisotirova, programme expert “Good education and work skills” at the America for Bulgaria foundation.
In both schools, children, parents and guests were welcomed by the two directors of the academies – Silvia Itova in Iztok district and Temenuzhka Georgieva in Lyulin district, who are graduates of A New Way to Teaching program and continue to work at schools in Plovdiv and Sofia.
Students also welcomed all present with songs, dances and recitals.
The Summer Academy of Teach for Bulgaria is organized for the twelfth year in a row and aims to increase students’ motivation to learn, improve their preparation in the subjects studied and help them not fall behind during the long summer holidays. The Academy is one of the few completely free summer activities for students in Sofia, offering modern training, games and opportunities to socialize with peers from different parts of the city.
Nearly 600 students chose to enroll in the academy this year. They are from over 150 schools and 20 kindergartens (pre-school groups) from Sofia city and Sofia region. Among the enrolled students there are also children living abroad during the school year and studying at Bulgarian schools in the USA, Spain, France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, etc. The largest number of students are in elementary and junior high schools, where the enrollment spots ran out as early as the end of May. Thanks to partner organizations, Teach for Bulgaria also ensures the presence of children who are from vulnerable communities, at risk of dropping out of school or who do not have the means to afford a variety of summer activities for students.
ACTIVITIES DURING THE ACADEMY
Classes are held every weekday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Students are scheduled to have four study hours per day with a break between each of them. Lessons are planned to encourage active student participation and collaboration among students in the form of group work, project work, sharing, discussions, etc.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, special attention will be paid to consolidating knowledge acquired during distance learning and preparation for the next school year.
Once again this year, there will be strong emphasis on social and emotional learning and the development of emotional intelligence in addition to the academic progress of students.
Part of the students will also have the opportunity to work with the special learning materials for project-based learning about climate change, which Teach for Bulgaria is developing as part of a project with the European Climate Foundation.
The academy also includes themed days and interest clubs led by students and teachers. In them, students can tell and teach their peers about a certain topic with the support of teachers. The clubs this year include “Robots and the human body”, “Ballet”, “Debates”, “Rubik’s cube”, “Journalism”, “Collage workshop”, “Surfing”, and many others.
The classes during the academy are led by the new motivated teachers in A New Way to Teaching program of Teach for Bulgaria. This year, they are 81 in number. They will be teaching a variety of school subjects and have diverse previous professional experience. The academy is the practical part of the intensive pre-training of the new participants in the program who, from September 2022, will enter schools across the country as full-time teachers.
In view of the increased number of coronavirus cases and after consultation with the health authorities, the academy will take place in strict compliance with the following measures:
- All teachers and members of the Teach for Bulgaria team and guests (adults) will wear protective masks on the indoor premises of the schools at all times;
- All adults and guests take a quick test before visiting the Summer Academy;
- All participants and the team are tested (at least) once a week.
- All premises are ventilated and disinfected regularly.
- Disinfectants are available in each classroom. Soaps for hand washing are also provided.
- Children will be greeted in the yard and will enter the school building in stages to avoid crowding.
For yet another year, the summer academy is held free of charge for parents and students thanks to a number of partners, including America for Bulgaria Foundation, Pepco, Nestle, Astra Zeneca’s Youth Program and others.