Anglophone District South holds language camps for Syrian students

Fifty-five international students in middle and high school, most of them Syrian refugees, are spending part of their summer back in the classroom in Saint John.

District spending $20K on summer learning camps for middle and high school international students

Young Syrian newcomers to Saint John have been eager to learn and participate in the classroom, said Zoe Watson, superintendent of Anglophone School District South. (Courtesy Jeff Matheson)

Fifty-five international students in middle and high school, most of them Syrian refugees, are spending part of their summer back in the classroom in Saint John.

The students have enrolled in the Anglophone School District South's new summer camp at Hazen White-St. Francis School to work on their English-language skills.

"We do find at middle and high school there are some quite large learning gaps, so there will be in-class work, and some day outings around the community for those students," district superintendent Zoe Watson said Monday on Information Morning Saint John.

"There are gaps in the language and some academic gaps and we continue to work on that."

Summer language and education programs will help Syrians keep up this summer. Zoe Watson is the superintendent of Anglophone School District South. 7:13

The district is spending an estimated $20,000 to deliver the summer program that's scheduled to start next week and run until mid-August.

Money will cover transportation costs and teacher salaries.

Other camps for younger students

The Saint John YMCA is delivering a similar program at Hazen White-St. Francis School this summer for about 20 elementary age Syrian students.

Centennial School and St. Patrick's School are also holding summer literacy camps for children from the area, and the district partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County to host literacy camps for all interested students in Blacks Harbour and Milltown.

Watson said the Syrian students are excited to continue their learning.

Many of them quickly picked up the English language shortly after starting classes at the Saint John Language Learning Centre earlier this year.

"When I visited the centre on Monday, the children made me cards thanking me for their education and the parents are so grateful," said Watson.

"They want to learn English and have their child have access to education. So from a district standpoint, this has been a very successful initiative."

Some of the students began integrating into school classrooms by the end of the year and more are expected to start classes in the fall.

With files from Information Morning Saint John