Westfield Public School District’s Extended School Year Program for pre-school through high school students is in full swing. The five-week program is designed for targeted students by providing special education and related services during the summer. In addition to fulfilling a state mandate intended for 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, “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. The added benefit to the in-district program is that it continues to save us hundreds of thousands of dollars, since we would otherwise be required to find out-of-district facilities for these students.”
This summer 139 students are enrolled. Twelve classrooms are utilized at Washington Elementary School for children in pre-school through fifth grades. Westfield High School is the location for four classes of students in grades six or higher.
“Students were selected to the program based on an established regression-recoupment analysis which demonstrates that a student experiences significant regression over breaks from school,” explained Joanne Ryan, Supervisor of the Extended School Year. “The maintenance of academic skills is vital, as well as the social and therapeutic activities offered to our students.” Related and supplemental services are an integral part of the program that helps students advance toward attaining their annual goals.
In its 14th year in Westfield, the program runs Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 1 PM through August 9. Specialists are available in Speech, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Behavior/Social Skills, Orton-Gillingham Reading, along with special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and a registered school nurse.
Pictured: Robin Gasson, teacher in the Westfield Public Schools (center front), works with elementary students in the district’s Extended School Year program to help them advance toward attaining their goals in preparation for the new school year. Paraprofessional Debbie DeNicola provides assistance, while Program Director, Joanne Ryan, records her observations.