Summertime in Atlanta brings two things for certain: hot weather and Xanadu in Atlanta Public Schools.
The annual summer enrichment program, sponsored by the district’s Office of Gifted and Talented Education, has been a staple in the district for more than 20 years. The four-week initiative, for rising first graders through 12th graders, provides students an opportunity to learn new, challenging concepts while interacting with teachers and students from APS schools other than their own.
More than 300 elementary school students and 75 middle and high school students participated in this year’s program, which was held at Price Middle School under the theme “The Summer of Wonder.” As has been the case every year, the ending of the program is celebrated with a musical performed by students. The elementary students performed “Xanadu Wonderland” – inspired by “The Wiz” – on Tuesday. The middle and high school students concluded with “Xanadu” Wednesday
“We hope the students found fun and exciting ways to learn new information. [Price] Principal Duane Hale and his assistant principal Schredrick Austin were great hosts,” said Tanya Barrett, a STEM Program Specialist and the site administrator for Xanadu this year. Students took mini-courses in non-core subject areas like health and physical fitness, drama, visual arts and cooking, as well as math, science and history.
“Our teachers incorporated gifted standards and Georgia GPS standards in all of the classes,” Barnett said. “The students learned new concepts, and loved seeing their friends from other schools. For some of them, this is the only time they see each other all year.”
Acid Based Chemistry was a class in which students studied pH levels in liquid and made their own water-based paints, which they used to create artwork.
In Disection 102, students worked like medical examiners, disecting pigs to discover how they died. The students even filed medical examiner reports, just like the professionals.
In Eco-Friendly Homes, students studied the strategies and techniques now being used to construct the most environmentally friendly houses and buildings, and then created their own miniature models.
In Energy Everywhere, students studied various forms of energy, and then built simple machines and power sources to demonstrate how energy is used.