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Jesus Manzo Jauregui,12, and Marcos Rincon Ochoa,12, present the planets they designed in groups for the one of their classes in Summer Science Program at Talmadge.

Stephanie Blair
Jesus Manzo Jauregui,12, and Marcos Rincon Ochoa,12, present the planets they designed in groups for the one of their classes in Summer Science Program at Talmadge.

INDEPENDENCE — At Talmadge Middle School and Henry Hill Education Support Center, the Summer Science Program will be wrapping up this week. The program has provided more than 100 children with activities to keep them in engaged and air conditioned, as well as providing them with free breakfast and lunch every day, said Angelica Gloria, the school district’s Summer Programs Coordinator.

“(The program is important) because it’s giving students the opportunities that enrich them during the summer, so that they’re not at home, but they’re actually actively involved still in the learning process,” Gloria said. “But it’s not like a typical school year, so we can offer field trips, and we can actually make more personal connections and more relationships.”

The elementary program, which serves students who are going into third, fourth and fifth grades, began at IES, but had to relocate to Henry Hill due to the old building’s inadequate air conditioning.

At Henry Hill, a short walk from the public pool, students learn about the solar system and space travel while working on reading and problem-solving skills in the classroom.

The whole day isn’t spent inside, however. Students also get to visit the public pool and enjoy the summer sunshine.

Down the road, at Talmadge Middle School, incoming sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders are learning about the science of space and the solar eclipse while working on skills such as reading, graph-making and teamwork.

The middle school students also got out of the classroom and into the sunshine on a number of trips to the pool, and got to visit a little farther from school.

“(The OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center trip) was one of my favorites because I was just sitting around with (my friend) Angel and poking at everything,” said Marcos Rincon Ochoa, 12. “I’m surprised the guy behind the little counter where they run that big line of fish didn’t get annoyed with me and Angel. I’m surprised because we asked him probably 50 questions.”

The program also provided students with an opportunity to visit OMSI and the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

Over the course of the program, students have learned about the eclipse and the solar system while completing hands-on projects, such as building model marshmallow rovers at the elementary school and water rockets at the middle school.

“We had a great time making water rockets,” said Tracy Barnes, one the summer school instructors and a Central School District teacher. “It was a blast and the kids really got into it, so it was a lot of fun — especially when you got to see their rockets go up.”

This program provides learning opportunities for more than children, though; the teachers and staff get an amazing experience working in the classrooms, explained Gloria. The teaching staff for the summer program includes a mix of school teachers, Polk County volunteers, Western Oregon University Bilingual Scholars and a 16-year-old volunteer from Central High School.

While the volunteers are an immense support to the program, they’re not the only outside support that the district has.

The program also has a number of partners helping to support it, including OregonASK, Polk County and the city of Independence. Specifically, the Independence Library, which is spearheading the STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Arts and Math) program.

Through STREAM, the children within the Summer Science Program were able to use a mobile maker space.

This is the second year this program has run and the first year that the middle school and K-2 programs have been introduced. For more information: Angelica Gloria,

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