Five special summer academies support students from Razgrad, Razhena, Brestnitsa, Filipovtsi and Fakulteta to bridge gaps in their education and have entertaining lessons to enhance motivation
How can students at risk of dropping out of school or with many knowledge gaps catch up and at the same time be motivated to study harder during the school year? The answer to this question is provided in July by five special summer academies supporting nearly 200 students from Razgrad, the village of Razhena (region of Stara Zagora), the village of Brestnitsa (region of Lovech) and Sofia districts Fillipovtsi and Fakulteta.
This is the first time the summer academies have been organized on such a scale within the month of July. They are completely free for the students and are organized by alumni and teachers in the Teach for Bulgaria’s programs and with the financial support of a number of regional partners – schools, companies and private individuals.
The five academies follow the model of the already established Summer START Academy in Fakulteta district, which has been successfully supporting students at risk of dropping out of school for six years now. The innovative model of the academy includes working with students not according to age but based on the level of their subject knowledge in Bulgarian language and mathematics. The teachers focus on gamification and teamwork. Each teacher has the opportunity to teach through their own teaching style and include a variety of additional activities. The classes include a maximum of 15 children, with a head teacher and an assistant teacher.
Photos from the Summer START Academy in Fakulteta District
Training in the academies also involves the children entering special roles around which the activities, tasks and narrative of the trainings are focused. The students in Filipovtsi are aeronautical engineers, the children in Razhena are ecologists, those in Razgrad are explorers, writers in Fakulteta, and zoo travelers in Brestnitsa.
The academies also include visits by guests from the respective professions, visits to organizations that deal with the topics and will support students to find more motivation in knowledge and learning.
“Unfortunately, far from all the children in Bulgaria have access to quality education. Children from poor communities show increasingly lower results compared to their peers from wealthier families. That is why, with the Summer START Academy, we focus on working with children who have dropped out of school or are at risk of dropping out, economically disadvantaged children and youth and those from marginalized groups. The results of the academies are visible not only in the enhanced motivation and results during the school year, but also in the fact that many of the children who have been through the academy now come back and help as volunteers with the younger students, says Milena Peeva, main organizer of the Summer Academy in Fakulteta district and graduate of A New Way to Teaching program by Teach for Bulgaria. Milena is the creator of the Summer START Academies model through her non-governmental organization Start Academy Sofia.
“For several years now, the Summer START Academy has shown how useful systematic and targeted support during the summer is for students who have large learning gaps and low motivation to learn. These needs have increased even more in recent years due to the pandemic and distance learning. It is exactly for this reason that we decided to disseminate this successful model, so that it can reach more students in the country. With the help of the strong community of teachers that we have in Teach for Bulgaria and with the support of many partners, we now have five academies, which we hope will also continue their existence in the coming years,” adds Mariyan Rankov, head of “Educational Projects” in Teach for Bulgaria.
More information about the academies can also be found on their social media channels:
The summer academies in Sofia (Fakulteta district and Philipovtsi district) are carried out for yet another year in partnership with the HESED foundation.
The summer academy in the village of Brestnitsa is organized with the financial support of Titan Zlatna Panega Cement AD – a long-standing corporate partner of Teach for Bulgaria which supports initiatives of teachers and schools in the region.
The Summer Academy in Razgrad is implemented with the support of the local community, a number of companies and private individuals, including Diana Slavova from the Community Donation Fund for Razgrad Foundation and Pilko, Mlin-97, Teach for Bulgaria Foundation, Razgrad Municipality, the Regional Department of Education-Razgrad, the Student Center for Technical and Scientific Creativity, restaurant “Les”, Quiz Razgrad, Motorcycle club “Windows Sons Bulgaria”, Tanya Todorova – director of RMH-Razgrad, Dzhipo Dzhipov, Martin Neshev, parents of children from class 1b from “Vasil Levski” Elementary School, Boryana Markova and Tsvetelin Petkov, Tsviatko Rusev – Valli-10, Stefan Ivanov, Ivelina Encheva.
The summer academy in the village of Razhena is organized with the support of the local school “St. St. Cyril and Methodius”.
Learn more about the Summer START academies from the video: