Why a Summer Program at P.G. Chambers School?
While the sun is shining and the lemonade is chilling, the students at P.G. Chambers School (PGCS) are using their summer to reinforce the achievements of the past academic year, continue their learning, and prepare for the next steps in their education.
The academic program at PGCS is a comprehensive 12- month program (210 days) that includes the summer months in year-round learning for the students. Extending the school year helps reinforce knowledge learned over the previous year. By offering a seamless learning environment, the students build on their abilities and do not lose skills as a result of a long summer break.
Edee Levey, school principal and assistant director shared, “Our extended school year program gives our students an opportunity to enjoy enriched, academic programs, as well as socialize and have fun with their friends.” In summer, while maintaining the same academic programs and therapies services that support the core curriculum standards throughout the year, outdoor play activities, picnics, gardening, and summer sports, add to the options for teaching and learning. “Most importantly”, adds Edee, “when a student’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) calls for an extended year program, we are ready and able to provide it for that student.”
According to the State of NJ Department of Education, the extended school year program means educational programming beyond the traditional 180 day school year for eligible students with disabilities, as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). There is a growing trend in general education, as well as special education, to offer summer programs. These programs are important for children with both academic concerns as well as those who may not be confident in social situations. As one teacher pointed out, “Come fall, you see them [student with challenges in social competence] interact with [other] students more comfortably,” he said. “Social skills are definitely much improved.”
A school district in southern New Jersey has had much success with an extended school year. The Jackson school district teachers echo comments from P.G. Chambers School teachers regarding the prevention of a loss of knowledge over summer.