Education

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Westfield Extended School Year Program Strengthens Academic Skills

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Joanne Ryan, Special Education teacher in the Westfield Public Schools, is helping students maintain and strengthen their skills and ready them for the new school year. They are among 132 targeted pre-school through high school students enrolled in this summer’s extended academic program in Westfield.  In addition to providing students with support, the school district saves hundreds of thousands of dollars by providing the programs in-district as an alternative to more costly out-of-district placements. Credits: Westfield Public Schools
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The Westfield Public School’s Extended School Year Program for pre-school through high school students is coming to a close.  The five-week program is designed for targeted students with special needs.  In addition to fulfilling a state mandate intended for all public schools, Westfield’s program focuses on maintaining and strengthening students’ academic skills to prepare them for the new school year. 

According to Michael Weissman, Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services, “The in-district program continues to save us hundreds of thousands of dollars, since we would otherwise be required to find out-of-district facilities for these students.  For the most part, our own faculty and related service providers work with the children in the summer, resulting in consistency and efficiency all year round.”

This summer the program enrolled 132 students.  Eleven classrooms are utilized at Franklin Elementary School for children in pre-school through fifth grades.  Westfield High School is the location for three classes of students in grades six or higher. 

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“Students were selected to the program based on a regression recoupment model,” stated Andrea Lo, Supervisor of Special Services PreK-12 for the Westfield Public Schools.  She explained that without the program, the targeted students would have difficulty recovering what they learned in the 2012-2013 school year within a reasonable time. 

“Our goal is to prevent regression so the students are ready for September,” noted Lo.  “During the summer, we can help the children maintain and sometimes even strengthen their skills to the point where teachers often notice the students’ academic growth when they return to school in the fall.”

The program, which is in its 11th year in Westfield, runs Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 1 PM through August 6, with specialists available in Speech, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Behavior/Social Skills, along with special education teachers and paraprofessionals.

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