Each year, four-hundred of our state's best and brightest upcoming high-school seniors are selected to attend the Governor's School. In this four-week summer residential program, they are engaged in intensive, intellectual activities that will enrich and expand their high-school experience. Again this year, I spoke to these students, their parents and to educators at the beginning of AGS. This time spent on a college campus encourages these students to develop into the thoughtful, knowledgeable leaders of tomorrow.
But Governor's School is only one of many enriching opportunities available to Arkansas students during the summer. At UALR's Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology, middle-school students delve into science and mathematics, giving them a distinct early advantage in an increasingly high-tech economy. This free, two-week, residential camp improves science, technology, engineering and math skills through hands-on lab activities, research and problem-solving. Studies show that math and science skills are lost more quickly during an inactive summer break than reading and writing skills. Keeping these students engaged during the summer helps them retain knowledge and keep their academic growth vibrant.
The Summer Science Day Camp, held at Jacksonport State Park, shows the connections between learning more at a young age and building a foundation to find success in real-world occupational settings. Knowledge in the STEM subjects will be a critical component of building a future workforce that will maintain success for our state. But that's not what keeps these kids interested. What they care about is that these summer programs are fun.
Elsewhere in Arkansas, Monticello Middle School has been operating its 21st Century Community Learning Center for more than seven years. The federally-funded program offers one-on-one and small-group tutoring in literacy, math and science. The goal is to identify students, early on, who may be falling behind and help keep them on track with their classmates. The Center also offers STEM-enrichment activities, supporting an increased focus on these critical subjects throughout the educational pipeline.
Another important component to the Center's curriculum is parental involvement. For parents who may need educational assistance themselves, the Center offers extended library time, so that entire families can achieve success through the support of the program.
All of these programs help students retain the knowledge and skills they have gained over the past year, giving them a better chance for a successful return to the classroom in the fall. Highly-motivated students position themselves to be the future leaders of Arkansas. They remind us that if we create the right educational opportunities, our young people can achieve anything, first in school, and then for a lifetime of success and continued learning.