Thirty-four students entering grades 1-6 participated in Valley Stream District 30’s six-week special education summer services program at Shaw Avenue School this summer. The annual program is designed to meet the continuing needs of students with learning disabilities from Clear Stream Avenue, Forest Road and Shaw Avenue schools.
Coordinated this summer by Director of Special Services Dr. Nicole Schimpf and administrative intern Shannon Woodson, students were recommended for the half-day program based on the district’s Committee of Special Education. Faculty members from throughout the district, including Melissa Cappy, Erica Jemmott, Timothy Rau and Monet Springer helped facilitate four classes this summer with the help of support staff. Students strengthened their reading, writing and math skills, along with social and emotional skills in the classroom. The small class sizes allowed for individualized attention to be set on specific student needs and an occupational therapist, physical therapist and speech therapist offered services throughout the summer.
“I think it was really an incredible summer for them,” said Ms. Jemmott. “Not only are they maintaining their skills from the school year, but they are in this classroom community that they are going to enter in September. It really helped to have these six weeks to get to know each other and build a community so when they start in the fall, it’s really natural and comfortable for them.”
Students took a bus to Forest Road School four times this summer where they tended to the student garden. The trips served as a valuable outlet for students to learn about different foods as they picked their creations from the garden and followed recipes, connecting to a unit on nutrition. The students also participated in engaging science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics activities in Forest Road’s computer lab with the help of Mr. Rau and Ms. Jemmott. Among the activities, students learned how to make ice cream in a bag and build a bridge out of various household materials.
“We try to work on skills that they still need but also make the program enjoyable,” said Mr. Rau. “We want to give them life skills or real-life experiences with things that will only better them as they continue to move through their academic careers.”
According to the teachers, the students showed their growth this summer and both students and staff had a great experience. The program concluded with its annual tradition of Field Day for all to enjoy.