Tahlequah Public Schools is always looking for ways to help our students year-round. This year, TPS has again applied for and been approved to sponsor a Summer Food Service Program for our area.

The Summer Food Service Program, or SFSP, provides breakfast and lunch free of charge for any children 18 years of age or younger. Breakfast will be served at Cherokee Elementary School, 800 E. Goingsnake St., 7:15-8:15 a.m., Monday-Friday in June, and Monday-Friday July 8-26. Lunch will also be served on the same dates, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. each of those days. Children should be accompanied by an adult. TPS Child Nutrition is an equal opportunity provider.

In an effort to reach more of our students in need in the summer, we are working with TPS staff and the Garden Walk Apartment Complex to feed more children. TPS will be taking hot lunches to the complex Monday-Thursday all of June, and Monday-Thursday July 8-26. Children 18 years or younger can get a lunch for free from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the dates mentioned above. A TPS van will set up outside of the laundry area at the apartment complex to serve the lunches. Meals will be the same that are served at Cherokee Elementary. We hope in future summers to expand this program to other Tahlequah neighborhoods.

In coordination with the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the federal Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program grant, Tahlequah will host their first Gifted and Talented Summer Camp for some fourth- and fifth-grade students in the Gifted and Talented Program this June.

Students will be engaging in the engineering process each week by creating and developing projects associated with each branch of engineering including chemical, bio-medical and structural/mechanical engineering.

Guest speakers will meet with the students in each unit and students will take trips each week to go with the material learned. Students will visit the GRDA Water Lab, a bridge building site with Cherokee Nation, and the OSU Medical Simulation Lab in Tulsa.

At the end of the camp, students will be involved in an engineering fair where they will present their creations/projects. Our students will get to experience real-life STEM jobs and meet with those who work in these professions every day. Our JAVITS grant funding pays for the entire camp and the camp would not be possible without this help from the OSDE.

These are just a couple of examples of summer activity in our district. TPS is committed to working year-round to remove obstacles and help students grow.

Leon Ashlock is superintendent of the Tahlequah I-35 School District.