Moline school keeps “Lights on for Learning”

School might be out for summer, but the learning doesn’t stop at one Moline campus. That’s where teachers are keeping the “Lights on for Learning.”

There are lessons on laptops at John Deere Middle School on Thursday. That’s where math is magnificent. Chris DeClerck blends technology with teaching. It’s an equation for success.

“I want kids to wake up in the morning, roll over and say, ‘Coming to school is not a bad thing,'” he said.

That’s why the Lights on for Learning program shines brightly. The federally-funded program is now in its fifth year in Moline. John Deere Middle School opens its doors before and after school to offer extra instruction and interesting opportunities.

“We really hope to provide students maybe just that one thing that grabs them, gets their attention and brings them back into school,” said Chad Potter, a science teacher who coordinates the John Deere Middle School program.

Moline, Rock Island, East Moline and United Township districts all offer summer programs. Each school receives about $150,000 to lead the sessions throughout the year.

Students also test their brain power with Lego robotics. This exercise is a pressure-free, test-free chance to explore creativity.

“It just brings that much more excitement to them,” DeClerck said. “It’s easier for them to focus and learn these days using technology.”

As youngsters pour over their projects, there’s hope that enthusiasm will carry over to the school year.  They want to build a future in school to create a lifetime of learning.

“Generate that student interest,” Potter concluded. “Spark that student interest, and get them in here to find something that they’re interested in doing.”

It’s a laptop lesson that these kids should remember.

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