CU Science Discovery

Sand Art. (Photo: CU Science Discovery).

Academic and Leadership programs generate an excitement to learn beyond the school year.

While traditional summer camps have tended to offer a more outdoorsy break after months in the classroom, a new wave of academic and leadership programs have emerged to help students carry on the learning they receive year-round.

It’s probably no surprise that the high-achieving environment of Boulder County and its surrounding area has a diverse range of specialized, educational programming.

Here’s a sample of some of the best.

Lifelong Learning, Boulder Valley School District
BVSD Community Schools offers two types of one-week summer camps from June 5 through July 28, both hosted at five BVSD Summer Hub locations. Students can take part in either half-day enrichment camps put on by BVSD Lifelong Learning, or full-day camps offered five days a week by BVSD’s School Age Care and Preschool Enrichment programs.

The morning or afternoon half-day camps offer both a wide variety of traditional sports, cooking, art and Lego building activity, as well as a range of academic STEM-type themes in science, technology, engineering and math, plus coding and filmmaking. BVSD’s longer camps include three days of STEM activities, as well as outdoor fun and cultural activities, plus two days of excursions to off-site entertainment locations. >

CU Science Discovery
CU’s Science Discovery is offering K-12 summer camps and high school classes from June 5-Aug. 4 on the CU Boulder and CU Anschutz Medical Campuses. Registration is ongoing. Full and half-day programs offer unique summer experiences that cover a wide range of STEM disciplines and cater to a number of interests and experience levels.

Full-day programs provide free lunchtime supervision, making summer scheduling a breeze for busy families. All summer programs combine engaging, experiential learning activities with inquiry-based instruction to inspire exploration, curiosity and excitement in kids of all ages. Instructors include CU faculty and graduate scientists and field experts that are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their topic. >

Dawson School
While registration is ongoing for Dawson School’s eight-week schedule of traditional summer sports and swim camps, parents will need to plan a year ahead to try to get a spot for the Dawson Summer Initiative, a five-week thematic, academic program aimed at 80 up-and-coming 6th and 7th grade students from local districts, with participants coming from more than 30 area schools.

Director Lisa Michael says the program gets about 200 applications per year and has become an in-demand opportunity for students interested in topics such as climate change, the digital revolution and global balance, with the top students also involved in leadership sessions. Registration is open from Dec. 1 to Feb. 2.

Tutoring Excellence
With locations in Longmont, Loveland and Fort Collins, the private Tutoring Excellence organization offers a unique range of summer programs specifically geared at helping students to practice and retain what they’ve learned and also get them on track for the next school year.

Those include sessions for Pre-K and kindergarten students, as well as programming for elementary-aged students, with a focus on reading skills, grammar, creative writing and composition, as well as work on both math and general study skills.

Tutoring Excellence also offers helpful sessions that can help students with the sometimes challenging transition from elementary school to middle school or from middle school to high school. Those include organization and study skills, as well as successfully coping with the increased workload found in the higher grades.

There’s also College Prep courses and a full range of one-on-one tutoring for students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia or letter recognition, with specialized sessions open to students from kindergarten to the 12th grade. >

By Andy Stonehouse, Raised in the Rockies