Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer School


  This Summer the Bogota School district has started a new program to help Students meet the  requirements in order  be prepared for the next grade level. This program has been given the name Title 1 Summer School Program and is for Students of both Steen & Bixby Schools. The Students of both Schools were required to attend  Bixby for the program.  In past years the School day was 1 hour and only focused on certain subjects. This year the day was expanded to three hours to give the feel of a normal school day ( but without the uniforms) and to allow for more individual attention when needed.  The classes were divided into various grade levels as  just like the regular school day. The Title 1 program is for Student in grades 1-6. Also this several English as a Second Language (ESL)  classes were included for Students  Kindergarten to 10th, with the older Student learning in a separate classroom. 
   Bixby Teacher Ms. Melissa Swietlicki was chosen to head this program, and Supervise the Summer academic activities at Bixby School.  Ms. Swietlicki received her Bachelor of Arts from Penn State University, a Master's Degree in General Education and Special Education from Long Island University, and a Master's Degree in Education Leadership from Long Island University. She serves as a Special Education Teacher in Bixby School 
   Bogota Blog NJ submitted a series of questions to her about the Title 1 Summer  School Program. Here are the questions with her answers. 

What is the goal of this Summer program? 

The goal of the Title 1 Summer School Program is to provide instructional support and to strengthen reading, writing, and mathematics skills for those children who are identified as academically at-risk.   Research has shown that students experience a regression of learning during the summer months; therefore, it is critical that students’ reading skills are practiced over the summer.  At-risk students, in particular, need to be exposed to literacy instruction during the summer so that they arrive in September ready to pick up where they left off.  
Students were selected for the summer program based upon multiple measures of assessment.  The students are drawn from Bixby School and Steen School in grades 1-6 and students in our ESL program are in grades K-10 this year.  Students are being provided with instruction in the month of July in the core content areas:  English Language Arts and Mathematics.  Instruction is aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

How is this different than a regular Summer School?

The program this summer is being run differently than it has ever been run before.  The structure of the program has changed. Instead of students receiving 1 hour of instruction for a particular subject, the program has expanded to allow for three consecutive hours for all students, Monday through Friday.  This benefits students so that they have additional learning time and opportunities for individualized attention.  Students are also using a new online interactive reading program, which has not only motivated students to read more, but it has boosted their reading skills already.

Why have you decided to head this program?

I decided to assume this role as head of the Summer School Program for several reasons.  I have been a teacher in the district for five years and I am knowledgeable about the specific needs of the students in multiple grade levels.  I have a positive rapport with the faculty, and I understood what the teachers, parents, and students required in order to plan and run the program successfully.  With my background in General Education, Special Education, and School Administration, this role fit perfectly with my experience as an educator in the Bogota Schools and my personal career goal to become a school administrator.

Are there any special challenges in a program like this?

This program has expanded to accommodate approximately 100 students from 8:30-11:30.   It also takes place during the same time as the Special Education Extended School Year program (about 30 students).  Some parents had expressed concern prior to the program about arrival and dismissal procedures.  In order to address these concerns, the arrival and dismissal procedures were carefully planned and supervised so that students, parents, and staff had a smooth start.  Due to the large numbers of students and potential traffic problems, I have arranged for the Bogota Police Department to ensure the safety of the students as they arrived and left school.   The support from the Police Department has been very helpful and is greatly appreciated.

What would you like to get accomplished?

It is the hope that with the additional hours of instruction, students can strengthen the skills they learned this year and build upon any areas of need so that they are prepared for the following school year.   Once the program completes this week, I'll have a dialogue with our administrators to reflect on the program. Teachers are developing student portfolios to show evidence of growth, so this will tell us if we need to revise the program next year or if we need to continue what we did this year.

What has been the reaction of the parents to the program?

There has been a positive reaction of the parents to this program.  Parents have said it is easier for them to bring their children to and from summer school now that the hours are between 8:30 and 11:30.  Parents have also said that the first week of summer school was a smooth transition into the program.

The following are comments from Ms Swietlicki about the Summer program:

“I have fully embraced the opportunity to head the summer school program this year.  My goal was to create a highly structured and organized instructional program that maximized students’ learning potential for the month and prepare students for next September.  In order to meet this goal, a priority was to transition to the new expansion of the program smoothly.  
With the support of the school administration, the teamwork of the building staff members, and the enthusiasm of the students and parents, we have made great strides to improve the program.  I would like to thank Mrs. DiMauro and Mrs. Rodriguez, parents of Bixby students, who volunteered their time to assist during the opening days of the program.  I would also like to thank Mayor Tito Jackson and Sgt. Craig Lynch for offering their support throughout the program.”

Ms. Swietlicki also proved Bogota Blog NJ a quote from a Parent of two Bixby Students:

"The summer school program has proven to be a great opportunity for my son to continue his learning.  Last week he came home and excitedly told me he finished a big math assignment and moved up a level in reading, something that never would've happened without these classes.  My thanks to Ms. Swietlicki for organizing and coordinating this expanded and very valuable program for the kids who need it.  The program was very well run with additional hours and increased enrollment.  I hope it will continue for many years." 
Bogota Blog NJ would like to Thank Ms Swietlicki for her assistance with this story.

 Ms. Sweitlicki greeting Shahd, Joseph & Justin in the Morning.

Ms. Rogers teaching a 3rd Grade class.

Ms. Shepard teaching a 4th Grade class

Ms. Sontag teaching  1st & 2nd Graders.

Ms. Keleman  helping with an assignment.
Ms. Ketchum teaching 5th & 6th graders

ESL students reading on computers.

 Mr. Williams ( from the Ft. Lee School District) teaching a
older Student English as a Second Language class.

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