Welcome to Teachers In the Parks (TIPS)! My name is Matt Hathaway, elementary school teacher in Exeter Township since 2004, and I'm proud to offer your students fun yet focused, quality but affordable, summer learning in math, math challenge, and reading. Experienced teachers designed this program to help students transition between grade levels. Research shows that students lose a tremendous amount of reading and math skill over the summer months without continued practice and acquisition of new skills. Our program is specifically designed to bridge the summer gap between grade levels so that our students start the new year with academic and social confidence.
TIPS started in 2004 with a group of students in my first class that wanted help over the summer in math and science. I met with the students in Lorane Orchards on the back porch of my parents' house, and we would often walk down to Lorane Hollow Park for open spaces for science activities. Eventually, I started to ask the parents to simply meet me in the park so that we didn't have to walk there in early August, and "Teacher in the Park" was born! As I would work with my group at Lorane Hollow Park, I noticed that there were swarms of kids at the park that could benefit from a few focused math lessons a week, nothing complicated, just some brain exercise. Over the next few years, I started running strictly math and reading classes. I began to fine tune what students needed over the summer. It is no secret that school districts across the Commonwealth have been forced financially to cut programs. In 2009, the Exeter Township School District graciously adopted Teachers in the Park to fill a summer learning program need for students in grades 3-6. There was one major condition though. No money was available for our program!
How do you run an academically focused program with some of our best certified Exeter teachers with no money in the budget? Easy. Reach out to a community of parents, organizations, and businesses that value quality education, Exeter. Our program is simple in concept and design. Cut out the regular costs needed to run a school in order to drive down the cost to families and the district. We don't need janitors because we don't have classrooms. We don't need secretaries because we don't have phones. We don't need an electric bill because we don't have lights, and we certainly don't need chairs because we don't have desks! Meeting in the park on a blanket takes away the stigma of summer school and allows us to meet children in the parks where they play.
Since 2009, we have worked with hundreds of families, added a bunch of teachers, and developed wonderful partnerships with community-minded organizations and businesses like Exeter Dairy Queen, the Exeter Community Education Foundation, the Exeter Teachers Associations, and the Owatin Creek APT. We are now Teachers In the Parks, and my staff and I can't wait to work with children across our area this summer!
Fourth Grade Teacher