Valley Stream District 30 kicked off its annual summer program on July 6 for incoming students in grades 1-6. This summer, approximately 155 students from Clear Stream Avenue, Forest Road and Shaw Avenue elementary schools enrolled in the five-week program to strengthen the skills they learned during the 2019-2020 school year and set them up for success when they return to school in the fall. Unlike previous summers, the 2020 program is being held virtually until Aug. 7 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Summer School Coordinator Erica Suarez and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Jennifer Lewner oversee the program which allows for individual attention to be set on each student’s academic progress. During a typical summer, students who participate in the program are housed at Shaw Avenue School where they work with a small group of students and teachers on English Language Arts and math skills. They also engage in specials such as art, physical education, music and STEAM. Although the program shifted to remote this summer, the district was dedicated to staying true to its in-person summer learning program. This includes continuing to allow students to rotate to different subject areas and specials.
“It was extremely important for us as a district to be able to offer a remote summer learning program with increased teacher contact time to best support the needs of our students,” said Ms. Lewner.
To prepare for this new virtual format, each student received an iPad and materials at the start of the summer to provide them with the tools they would need for their online learning. During the 2020 program, students are split into small groups and participate in daily live instruction via Google Meets. Each grade level has a Google Classroom where they can access additional digital materials. The students utilize these digital resources and engage in hands-on lessons from their homes to help sharpen their foundational skills in the areas of English Language Arts and math, along with art, physical education, music and STEAM. Despite not being physically in the classroom with their teacher and peers, the live instruction still allows for immediate feedback and gives students the guidance that they need.
A modification was made this year to the delivery of instruction for the district’s English as a New Language students. These students focus on developing their language skills specifically by working with one of the district’s ENL teachers in a small virtual group for 40 minutes each day.
The summer program has garnered positive feedback from families and staff as students have been highly engaged and have responded positively to the format. The district is confident that the program will set these students up for a strong new academic year.