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Shaw Avenue News

Special Services Summer Program Takes Virtual Approach

Special Services Summer Program Photo  thumbnail176417
Valley Stream District 30 held its annual Special Services Summer Program from July 6 through Aug. 14. The program was designed to meet the continuing needs of students with learning disabilities from Clear Stream Avenue, Forest Road and Shaw Avenue schools. Due to the pandemic, the six-week program was facilitated virtually for the first time in its history and was led by Director of Special Services Dr. Nicole Schimpf. The dedicated summer staff consisted of special education teachers Melissa Cappy, Gabriella Cunzo, Timothy Rau and Monet Springer, speech therapists Cassandra LaBarbara and Jennifer Reilly, along with occupational therapists and physical therapists.

Thirty-nine students participated in the half-day program, Monday through Friday. They were enrolled in one of four small classes of less than 12 students and although their interactions were virtual, each student had the opportunity to still engage in one-to-one lessons for individualized attention to be set on specific student needs. Teachers conducted live instruction through Google Meets and provided activities on Google Classroom. To maintain a structure that students were already familiar with, academic-based apps were utilized on their devices to further enhance reading, writing and math concepts and students participated in hands-on projects and virtual field trips every Friday.

“From a teachers perspective, it was challenging but rewarding to see the students grow over the summer with regards to Google Meets and practicing time management skills through virtual instruction,” said Mr. Rau.

In addition, teachers led individual or small class meetings throughout the summer to create a sense of community. The program also offered parent training for families for extra support at home.

“The summer staff this year were amazing with ‘thinking out of the box,’ delivering creative lessons, staying positive and adapting to the new challenges posed by the pandemic to create a wonderful experience for our special education students,” said Dr. Schimpf. “We also have to thank our special education parents who were true partners in helping to create routines and assistance while their child worked remotely.”

Students Return to the Classroom Both In-Person and Virtually

After months of anticipation, students from Clear Stream Avenue, Forest Road and Shaw Avenue elementary schools marked their first day of the 2020-2021 school year on Sept. 3. To keep everyone safe and healthy, the district is following a hybrid model (a blend of in school and remote instruction) for students who wanted to return to the classroom and also a full-remote model for those who would rather learn from home five-days a week.
Throughout the summer months, central and building administrators, staff, families and a handful of students worked together to form a Re-Entry Task Force to prepare for a safe reopening. On the first day of school, the procedures that were discussed were put in place. All students and staff wore masks, stood six-feet apart at arrival and had their temperatures screened before entering the buildings. In the hallways, students followed social distancing markers and signs, and in the classrooms, students sat at desks which were spaced six-feet apart from their peers. In addition, lunch was provided in the classrooms and students and staff utilized hand sanitizer stations that were located around the buildings.
“The opening of school went very well thanks to our dedicated staff and the support of our families,” said Superintendent of School Dr. Nicholas Stirling. “We missed everyone and we’re excited to connect with our students both in-person and remotely. We look forward to a safe and healthy new school year.” 

District 30's Summer Program Goes Virtual

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.

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