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Draper Journal

Summit Academy’s after-school program offers creativity, opportunities for learning

Nov 01, 2022 07:23PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Summit Academy sixth-grader Lena Surapaneni doesn’t mind staying at school until 5:30 p.m.

“She actually complains if I’m early,” her mother Sri Koduri said.

Lena is enrolled in Summit Academy’s after-school program, where she can get homework help, go on field trips, learn from presenters and engage in several different activities. This is her second year in the program.

“Lena’s a happy camper; she’s glad to connect and likes the different field trips they offer,” Koduri said, adding that her daughter has visited museums and attended reptile shows that their family hasn’t been to, so it’s offering her more opportunities. “Lena is a born leader and likes to help, so they let her help with the younger kids, which she loves. I’ve been impressed with all the ideas and activities the teachers have, but also how they manage students and communicate with parents.”

Summit Academy offers its after-school program at the Draper campus as well as the Independence school in Bluffdale. About 30 students are enrolled in each program. 

Nathaly De La Torre began the program at the Independence campus in 2018. She expanded to Draper in 2021.

“I wanted to have a safe, fun and convenient environment for the kiddos while their parents may be at work,” she said.

De La Torre said to make it easier for parents is that they only charge on the days students attend. There is a $75 registration fee, on, but once that’s complete, students pay $13 per day Monday through Thursday, and $19 on Friday as it is an extended day since students are dismissed from school earlier.

On one Friday per month, the after-school program offers a field trip. On other Fridays, presenters are invited to the campus.

“Last week, we just went to the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point, and we’ve been to the Living Planet Aquarium and the Olympic Oval. We’ve had LEGO car races, Scales and Tails, Kim’s Cold-Blooded Creatures, magicians and others come in. We’re going to Wilkerson Farm in Orem soon; they have fruits and vegetables, but also a corn maze and pumpkin patch,” De La Torre said.

She said that often students will talk to their classmates about the program, “then we get more friends coming in. I love it because we’re not only bringing groups from the community in, so they get introduced by all these awesome companies, but we’re going out into the community. One time, I was told by a student that their favorite part of the field trip was the bus ride. Some have never been on one and they wanted to ride a bus. It was so cute.”

The typical day begins with a healthy snack and then the students go outside “to get their wiggles out. After recess, we do homework. I’m a pretty big stickler on homework,” said De La Torre, who has degrees in human development, family studies and psychology. “We have teachers helping and supporting, and I want them to get it done so they can go home, have dinner and have family time. I appreciate when parents tell me the kiddos need help or need to get their homework packet done. Our teachers are great to work with as well.”

Following their 45-minute homework or reading time, students are engaged in a 30-minute enrichment activity.

“It can be science, art, active, cultural—I have a list. We’ve played games like backside tag and it’s a skill level that everyone can participate in. We always do amazing art projects, and we have themes every month which we try to match not only our activity, but our presenter and field trips as well,” De La Torre said.

The activities have ranged from making cookies at the Independence campus to STEM activities.

“The teachers are doing some real incredible things, and some are common and practical. I like that the enrichment is meant to build a skill or teach them a new skill. For example, we can introduce sports; many kids don’t know how to throw a football. Or we can teach them how to measure their heart rate, resting heart rate and after running,” she said.

Pick-up is one of De La Torre’s favorite times—and not because she gets to relax and put her feet up.

“What makes me know that I’m doing the after-school program right is when kiddos get picked up and I hear them say to their parents, ‘You came here too early,’” she said. “Then I know they’re loving it and are wanting to learn more.”