The Extended School Year Program for preschool through high school students in the Westfield Public School District is in its 16th year, with a continued focus on maintaining and strengthening academic skills through the summer to prepare students for the new school year.

The five-week, state-mandated ESY program is designed for students who have been identified as those who would benefit from additional instruction and related services during the summer. Instructional specialists in reading, behavior/social skills, speech, occupational and physical therapy join special education teachers, paraprofessionals and a registered nurse in administering the program. Many of the ESY staff are longtime educators and aides with Westfield Public Schools.

A total of 112 students are enrolled in the preschool through fifth grade program held at Wilson Elementary School. On any given day, you might find preschoolers and kindergartners painting in an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) class, a third grade class practicing short and long vowels, and first graders learning about conflict resolution through an engaging ESY course called Peaceful Playground.

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“I love working with the students and their families,” says Joanne Ryan who is in her fourth year as supervisor of the ESY program. “If families are giving up their summers to enroll their children, ESY must be a dignified and comprehensive program that truly is an extension of the school year.”

Thirty students in grades 6-12 attend the ESY program at Westfield High School where they review and build upon their reading, writing and mathematics skills. Some students also receive related services as needed.

“ESY helps the students to maintain the skills they have learned during the school year and affords the students an opportunity to continue to work on their areas of weakness in a structured environment that promotes socialization,” says Andrea Lo, supervisor of special services for preschool to 12th grade.  

The Extended School Year Program runs from July 5 through Aug. 8.