In late June, Hardin-Simmons University's Irvin School of Education hosted the second year of the Dream-Catchers Summer Camp, a program designed to enhance literacy among elementary school students in the Abilene Independent School District.
The camp, conducted in partnership with the AISD, and funded in part by a grant from the Community Foundation of Abilene, was held June 16th through 19th and June 23rd through 26th.
Dr. Renee Collins, chair of the department of educational studies and associate professor of education at HSU, developed the literacy camp as a result of her research regarding the connections between motivation and achievement among students.
The camp provides formative learning experiences for AISD students while promoting deep collaboration between HSU education majors and AISD teachers during the funding, planning, and implementation stages of development.
According to Collins, the cooperative effort of the Dream-Catchers Camp allowed for a successful implementation of easily achieved goals, which had a significant impact upon both students and teachers.
"Dream-Catchers' was a win-win for everyone involved," said Collins.
During the two week Dream-Catchers Camp, HSU undergraduate education majors, teachers from a local AISD elementary school, and nearly 60 students ranging from kindergarten to fourth grade collaborated in learning activities designed to help campers make friends, create memories, and ponder big ideas - all through the vehicle of active participation and learning.
Collins noted the exemplary reflection of HSU's strategic values found in the Dream-Catchers Summer Camp. She added that by demonstrating service to, and in partnership with the AISD, while also seeking to expand the learning experiences and preparation of future educators, this camp reinforced the communal ideal of the educational enterprise modeled at HSU.
In addition to serving a critical role in HSU's strategic efforts to provide educational camps and activities for students throughout the summer, the Dream-Catchers Camp was recognized in January as an Exemplary K-12 Partnership by the
Center for Research, Evaluation & Advancement of Teacher Education