McKinney ISD


MISD SCOPE Camp: Cracking the Code to Summer Fun!

Shane Mauldin|
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

McKinney, Texas – While summer is mostly appreciated for fun in the sun or just kicking back and doing absolutely nothing, it’s also a great time for students to exercise their minds at McKinney ISD’s SCOPE Summer Scholars Camp.

More than 160 kids invaded Cockrill Middle School for four hours a day from June 12 – 15 for the second annual SCOPE Camp headed up by MISD Gifted and Talented Coordinator Karen Green and Webb Elementary GT teacher Jessica Fair—along with the help of a small army of teachers and parent and student volunteers.

Nothing goes together quite like math sessions and giant water balloon slingshots.

Open to MISD students entering third through ninth grade, SCOPE offered something for just about any pursuit that a kid might be interested in—coding, mock trial, theatre, moviemaking, mathematics, maker space, puzzle-solving, gardening, writing…and on and on.

“We wanted the kids to learn and then inspire them for the whole summer to invent, to create, to think about things critically but at the same time have fun doing it,” Green said. “So, they don’t even know they’re learning because they’re having so much fun inventing.”

The campus was teeming with MISD students engaged in fun and challenging activities. In one classroom, students investigated engineering-related concepts like electrical circuits and robotics while, onstage in the cafeteria, another group of students performed plays about Pandora’s box and the mythological characters Narcissus and Echo. Meanwhile, behind the school, kids in one of the math sessions fired off water balloons with a giant slingshot.

Three girls at a desk working on a critical thinking problem.

MISD’s SCOPE Camp gives students a great opportunity to have fun and exercise their creativity and critical thinking skills during the summer.

Other students showed up mainly to write. If the thought of middle school students voluntarily signing up to write for several hours a day during the summer seems unlikely, meet Reed Fort who’ll be a ninth grader at McKinney High School next year and Sarah Knowlton, who is heading into eighth grade at Cockrill. They were two members of a classroom full of kids who signed up to take Faubion writing teacher Debbie Bennett’s creative writing sessions.

“I didn’t get to take Mrs. Bennett’s creative writing class [at Faubion],” Reed said, “so I decided to take this to try to make up for it. I like Mrs. Bennett as a teacher. She’s really nice and she’s one of the best writing teachers I’ve ever had.”

Sarah was returning for another go-round. “This is actually my second year in this class, and I really liked this course last year. I really like Mrs. Bennett. I haven’t had her as a teacher because she teaches at Faubion, but I really liked her teaching style [last summer], and I really like to write.” Sarah credited Bennett’s writing class with helping her place in UIL academic competition last year.

Students onstage in Greek costumes raising hands in a line.

From coding to theatre, there is something for everybody at SCOPE.

Webb GT teacher Ashley Williams hosted sessions called “BreakOUT” that were based on the concept of the increasingly popular escape room games. In this case, rather than solving clues to break out of a room, students used their ingenuity and problem-solving skills to unlock the mysteries inside a series of locked cases.

Indrani Garganigo, who was a member of the champion Mock Trial team from Evans Middle School last year, will be a freshman at MHS in the fall. But, when her eighth-grade year came to a close, she was faced with the prospect of a typical summer of not doing a whole lot. Her mom suggested the SCOPE camp.

“During the summer I tend to do absolutely nothing,” Indrani said, “and my mom got this thing [about SCOPE], and she’s like, ‘You can do puzzles and games,’ and I was like, ‘Wow, that sounds like fun. Puzzles and games.’ At the time I was being sarcastic—like, ‘Why would I want to use my brain during the summer?’ But, it’s actually been really fun — especially BreakOUT.”

And, having fun—while engaging your mind—is always a good thing.

Even during the summer.

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