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Thousands of kids will spend a month of weekday mornings in a classroom this summer.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t be having fun.

The Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe Summer School Program is an enrichment program that builds kids’ math and language arts skills with fun activities, said Carol Czerw, DODDS-Europe education chief.

About 4,200 pupils are registered and 235 teachers volunteered for the program at 37 DODDS locations across Europe, Czerw said. Classes begin Tuesday.

This is not your typical summer school. “This is not for catch-up and not for remediation,” Czerw said. “It is a very hands-on, activity-based summer school enrichment program.”

Each school has one teacher in charge of the program. The only staff on site will be the teachers involved in the classes, and there are no transportation or cafeteria resources available for the half-day program, Czerw said.

After this short holiday week, classes run from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday through July 29.

Parents had to register pupils for the program before the end of the school year to determine how many teachers were needed and to arrange for “pathfinders.”

“Each student will have a pathfinder, a learning buddy to work with throughout the program, and the students will work in teams each day,” said Debrah Pohlmann, teacher in charge of the program at Vogelweh Elementary School, which also hosts 145 pupils from middle and elementary schools in Sembach and Kaiserslautern. “This will be a continuation of things they’ve done during the school year, but it puts a different spin on the way they achieve their goals.”

The theme for elementary school grades is the mystery series and the theme for middle school grades is media and magic. “Grades seven and eight will be doing a lot of computer and multimedia things, while the K through six will be going on adventures to solve mysteries,” Pohlmann said.

All of the teachers who will administer the program volunteered to work through the summer, Czerw said. “My first thought was: ‘How am I going to find enough teachers to run this?’” she said. “This is their only break. Most teachers use their summer break to travel or return to the States. Imagine trying to find 235 teachers who want to stay and work all summer. But they just walked in and volunteered.”

“The teachers are getting paid, but that’s not it,” Pohlmann said. “They are really excited about this program. They’re excited about the approach. Since they are multiaged groups, many of the teachers are teaching different grades than they are accustomed to. This is the kind of stuff they can’t really get to during the school year. We’ve got a lot of excited teachers ready to get started.”

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