- Desert Ridge Junior High
Gilbert Public Schools offers wide range of summer learning camps
Learning doesn’t have to stop in the summer! Gilbert Public Schools offers a host of camps and programs that provide students with fun, interactive and educational experiences as well as academic support. Camps and programs are designed to be flexible and meet the needs of our students and families.
“We do a really good job of not only watching their kids, but we’re structured in the fact that we go on field trips and go to different classrooms,” said Kristin Stolzmann, program supervisor for the Community Education department.
The district’s Community Education department oversees Kindercamp, VIK Summer Camp, and The Zone. The camps are targeted to different age groups of students from preschool through junior high. Students engage in age-appropriate sports and activities throughout the day. Camp fees also include breakfast, lunch and a snack.
"All the activities that we do are included in the cost of the camp,” Stolzmann said, “Parents (and families) pay one fee, and they can schedule however they want."
Kindercamp is for children ages three to six years old and focuses on specialized instruction to support classroom development. Kids practice the basics like counting, measuring and fine motor skills. They are also introduced to arts and crafts, science, active games, cooking and computers. Kindercamp is offered at several of our GPS Elementary school campuses along with VIK Summer Camp.
VIK Summer Camp is for students entering first grade through sixth grade. VIK campers are split into two groups known as ‘Camp A’ and ‘Camp B,’ based upon their grade levels. Students in third grade have the option of being part of either of the camp groups, allowing families to keep these students with older or younger siblings. During the summer days, VIK campers go through a daily rotation schedule, where they explore STEM, art, culinary, electronics, computers, free play and much more. It’s an opportunity for them to develop new interests and skills while making new connections.
“We’re not just letting the quiet kids sit and be quiet. We’re helping them to find a buddy. We’re helping them to find a new friend,” Stolzmann said.
The Community Education department also offers a program for junior high students ages 11 to 14. The Zone, located at Mesquite Junior High, creates a safe environment for tweens and teens to make lasting friendships, learn new skills and participate in fun field trips. Students get free choice to participate in a wide-range of activities, including archery, STEM, 3D printing, culinary classes, computer coding, art, active games, trivia, electronics and more. Field trips include Main Event, Jake’s Unlimited, Harkins, and Altitude. Together, the students create memories that they will never forget.
“The last day of The Zone everybody is crying, because they are so distraught about leaving their friends,” Stolzmann said.
Gilbert Public Schools also offers Pre-K All the Way! The summer program, in its third year, is designed for children preparing to go into Kindergarten. Teachers lead students through a preschool routine with circle time activities, small group rotations (for math, literacy and writing), STEM lessons, and fine motor skills. Classes are three hours a day and held Monday through Thursday during the summer.
For students in need of academic support, summer school classes are offered for elementary and secondary students. Secondary students have the option of attending summer school classes in-person, or online through GPS Global Academy. There is also academic support available for students making the transition from sixth grade to seventh grade and from eighth grade to ninth grade. It is available upon teacher's recommendation. Students get support in their core subjects, like English Language Arts and Math. They also get help with becoming comfortable on campus and learning how to develop organizational skills. Students also get to meet with school administrators and counselors.