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Summer Program Strengthens Skills

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Incoming kindergarten students through incoming sixth grade students in the Valley Stream District 30 have the opportunity to hone their English language arts and math skills while engaging in fun activities during the district’s summer program. The program runs from July 6 to Aug. 6 at Shaw Avenue Elementary School.

Small class sizes of eight to 10 students allows for individual attention to be set on each student’s academic progress. This year, math and English language arts teachers rotate into the classrooms. Enrichment and social emotional learning activities also take place throughout the day. Each day begins with a 15-minute social emotional learning activity, which the district began in the 2020-2021 school year and carried over into the summer program.

Run by summer school coordinator Erica Suarez, the program is designed to support the needs of students in the areas of English language arts and mathematics. In addition, it serves as a way to strengthen students’ 21st century learning skills in the areas of creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and collaboration.

Students participate in weekly specialty classes such as art, Lego robotics, STEAM, music and physical education. This summer, the district also incorporated a cultural immersion specialty class. Each day throughout the week, the students concentrated on different aspects, such as flags, food, music and language of Japan, Mexico and China.

The program is broken into two different curriculums based on grade levels. Among small individualized groups and activities such as art, music and physical education, the younger grade levels engage in weekly STEAM activities to harness their problem-solving skills.

The older grade levels, featuring incoming students in grades 3-6, focus on different comprehensive assessments to build on their mathematics and reading strategies. All students are working on more unit-based learning this summer, incorporating more STEAM into the curriculum.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the summer program,” Suarez said. “The small class size helps the students stay engaged while also building their confidence.”