The last day of school for the Westfield public schools was June 17. After a two-week break, summer programs will take off full force, said Christopher Rogers, director of interventions and safety. All the summer programs are free to Westfield students and parents.
Planned are credit recovery programs, transition programs for students entering new schools and Summer EdVenture.
“We want to engage students in real authentic learning during July and August,” Rogers said.
The goal is to keep building powerful professional relationships with staff and other students.
The Summer EdVenture program at Highland Elementary School is for students leaving pre-kindergarten through fourth grade (or rising kindergarten through rising fifth graders). Rogers said 180 students have enrolled in Summer EdVenture.
Rogers said the program will be project-based learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). He said students will be using reading for all the science-based hands-on learning projects.
Students going into kindergarten to third grade will be studying Introduction to Nature, looking at habitats, adaptations, and outdoor exploration. There will be walking field trips, and presenters from Mad Science.
For rising fourth and fifth graders, there is an eco-science curriculum with a community service component. A couple of years ago, the students worked with Big Y on the transition from plastic grocery bags, and the following year, on banning plastic straws in the district. This year’s community service component will be up to the coordinators and teachers, Rogers said.
Westfield High School is again running a credit recovery summer school for students in grades 7-12 who have failed a course for the year with a minimum grade of 40 to 59. If they register, they can go to credit recovery at WHS for one of two two-week sessions, July 11-22 and July 25 to Aug. 5.
“The point of this program is for students to work during the summer on project-based learning and power standards of courses they did not receive credit for. If they complete the course and attend every day, they will receive credit for a course they did not receive credit for during the year,” Rogers said.
He said a student can take both sessions and can receive up to two full credits of recovery for the summer. Signups are underway for this program, which is also free. Rogers said the middle school and two high schools take an active role in determining eligibility for the credit recovery program, which is run by WHS math teacher and soccer coach Andrew Joseph.
Westfield Technical Academy is holding its three-week summer transition program for students entering that school for the first time. From Monday through Thursday, participants will work with academic and shop teachers, so they can get an idea of what it’s like to be a student at Westfield Tech.
All the students in Summer EdVenture will get core subjects as well as specials, including physical education, technology, arts and music.
WMS will run towards the middle to end of August in two sessions. One group of incoming seventh and eighth graders new to the school will attend Session I, and another group will form Session II.
“A lot of our kids are coming from smaller environments, and even the transition from WIS to WMS is a big deal,” Rogers said.
Westfield Intermediate School is hosting a smaller program, only four days, with close to 125 incoming fifth graders. These students will receive some academic support and get to know the building, the staff, and the other students.
Band camp at WMS will also continue this year, under the direction of WHS Band Director Patrick Kennedy and a team of music teachers.
Rogers said most of the camps are being funded through Title I and ESSER, the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds.
“We’re using grant funding to make sure these programs are free for kids during the summer,” he said.
He said altogether, there will be as many as 700 students engaged in summer camp experiences.
“To keep that many students engaged in academics, social-emotional and socialization over the summer months is huge for us and so important for them,” he said.
For more information on summer programs in the district, contact Rogers at 413-572-6397 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.