Green Brook's Summer Classes Drawing Students
New programs bring new lessons to summer school.
It used to be that students passing their classes could spend the summer mostly forgetting what they've learned, while those who struggled during the school year spent their days in the classroom.
But new programs are making summer school cool—for students at Green Brook's Camp Paws, at Irene E. Feldkirchner School, that means trips to the Raptor Trust and swimming, as well as chances to try theater and, this week, Olympic skills.
The program has been offered for several years as part of the special education programming at the district—taking its name from "Personalized Academic Workplace Readiness and Social Skills"—but Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe said the district extended the programs for all students this year.
He said the district could do this with little added cost, since the teachers and classes are already prepared. The district anticipated about 50 non-special education students to sign up—so far nearly 110 have taken advantage of the classes, which run through Aug. 9. The program for special ed students through district funding, while the other students pay $20.75 per day to attend—a source of revenue benefitting the district.
Fifth-grade student Trevor said the classes are helping him keep prepared for the return to classes in the fall.
"I'm all pumped up for school and I think all the others who didn't come to camp are going to have a hard time," he said.
That fits in with the schools' thinking, too: Dr. Labbe noted schools typically spend about six weeks at the beginning of each school year in review—think how much more could be taught each year if students didn't need the review time.
Camp Paws avoids any kind of all-work-and-no-play scheduling, though. This week, the students are holding their own mini-Olympics camp, with lessons highlighting not only athleticism but also sportsmanship and art incorporated.
Next week, many of the students will prepare and present a play.
"We want to make it fun so the kid are enthusiastic to come back in the fall," Dr. Labbe said. "It's so important for helping them learn."
IEF Principal Armand Lamberti also noted the importance of making the camp fun and worthwhile.
"We want the kids to have the feeling of being at a camp," he said.
So far, the students seemed to agree that it's a lot of fun, despite one thing you won't find at camp: "In my class, we have a lot of tests," a second-grade student named Miranda said.
But she did add the tests help keep the students prepared—and aren't interferring with her fun.