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Summertime and the Learnin' is Easy

Do you remember your favorite summer break memories? Maybe they included trips to museums, zoos, or parks. Maybe you learned about new cultures, animals, and places. Maybe you made crafts to hang on the fridge or launched bottle rockets with friends. These are the kinds of experiences that open doors to new ideas and opportunities—and the kinds of experiences that stick with you for a lifetime.

This summer, Communities In Schools of Durham is giving our community's kids just that kind of summer experience, for no cost. Thanks to a partnership with 21st Century Community Learning Centers, CIS of Durham is engaging more than 100 elementary school students in its first summer program, which officially launched one June 22nd at E.K. Powe and Eno Valley Elementary Schools.


“At its core, the summer program is academics but it's also fun and engaging,” says Sheri Mulling, Director of Program Operations. In addition to providing free transportation, breakfast, and lunch, CIS of Durham put together an engaging summer curriculum to focus on literacy and STEM learning. But we know our kids don't want to feel like they're still in school—and that's why our learning projects are interactive, and let kids get their hands dirty.

“I can't wait to make a rocket fly!” says one fourth grader at E.K. Powe.

At Eno Valley, students will get to create an artificial town experience to help them understand the everyday decisions and critical thinking skills that go into town management.

“We're focused on experience and exposure,” Mulling says. The summer program includes experiential learning field trips to the Museum of Life and Science, and the North Carolina Zoo. Kids will also get do engage in activities with CIS' community partners like the Durham Beat Lab, which introduces kids to music production and entrepreneurship.

Communities In Schools of Durham is also integrating technology to enhance learning, letting students use iPads and other tablets to engage in a nontraditional way. It's just another way we're pushing our kids and their learning opportunities into the 21st century.

“We want to grow, grow, grow,” Mulling says about the future of the summer program. CIS of Durham will continue to provide kids with additional opportunities of experience and exposure during summers to come.


We are actively seeking volunteers for the summer program. If you are interested in volunteering with CIS of Durham for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, please contact Sheri at for further information.

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