NORTH SHORE SUMMER PROGRAM
North Shore Comes Together Again
By Dr. Kerri Titone
This summer, North Shore Schools was pleased to provide both in-person and online learning experiences for our students in grades 1-12. While we served over 1,000 students total, approximately 20% of those students attended modules in person, participating in modules including:
- Speed, Strength, and Agility
- Kid Power
- Exploring Math Through Games
- Yoga in the Park
- Boot Camp in the Middle
- Book Clubs - Multicultural Characters and Stories
- Fundations Practice and Math Review
- You Can't Stop the Beat (Dance)
- Math/Science Olympiads
- Garden Club
- Creative Writing Workshop
- STEAM Explorations
The outdoor summer program was a great opportunity for our kids to be together again, having fun as they learned. While students, parents, faculty, and staff were equally excited to be together in person for the first time since March, with the goal of continuing and expanding learning opportunities, we all knew that the primary objective was to keep everyone safe.
In a short time, kids were into a new routine and ready to refresh their skills or even learn new ones. Students were dropped off at either the Sea Cliff or Glenwood Landing campus, where classes were limited to a maximum of 15, for safety and social distancing purposes. Groups were determined by student interest, as selections were made in advance through Google Forms. Each module, whether in person or online, was an hour and a half each day for two weeks, from July 13-24 and/or July 27-August 7. After the first session began, and students and their families saw that the program was running smoothly and safely, we saw an increase in session two registration. When possible, some students attended both modules, for a total of four weeks of outdoor learning. On the few rainy days we had, outdoor classes were moved online and students participated from home through Google Classroom.
In each module, our children met new friends, discovered new interests, and reinforced their skills- but most importantly, they did so safely. One student discovered a passion for running, others reinforced their math and literacy skills, wrote personal stories, or built and tested airplanes, practiced mindfulness, presented freshly harvested vegetables to the food pantry, stretched and broke a sweat in the fresh air- while social distancing. Teachers adjusted lessons and protocol, serving as exemplars for what in-person learning could look like in a COVID-19 era. The creativity and innovation of our teachers was impressive, as they taught newly improved and safe forms of tag, kickball, STEM experimentation, coordinated dancing, yoga, and mindfulness. Under a mask, our teachers were still able to give authentic feedback, motivate kids to learn each day, and smiled through it all.
Each day, parents filled out an attestation via Google Form that their child did not display any symptoms of COVID-19, had not tested positive for COVID-19 themselves, nor had they come into contact with anyone that had tested positive for COVID-19. If not feeling well, students stayed home until they were better. Students wore masks while on campus and were screened for their temperature by the nurse upon arrival. This same protocol applied to the staff, consisting of teachers, aides and security guards, who also wore gloves at arrival and dismissal.
Together, we learned to adjust to new protocols; screening, sanitizing, wiping down equipment, resisting the instinct to share materials or chat without a mask, but we did it! When six feet apart and outdoors, students were able to take mask or water breaks as needed. I am so proud that the district was able to provide this unique opportunity for our students, which was created and designed by our Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Dr. Christopher Zublionis. While so many opportunities were taken away or limited in Spring 2020 due to COVID-19, it was such a wonderful experience for our students to be able to come together again. Teachers, aides, security guards, nurses, and supervisors Dr. Kerri Titone and Dr. Zublionis were proud to have been a part of the North Shore Outdoor Summer program, and lucky to have worked with such a great team of teachers, staff, and overall community. We truly thank the community for putting trust in our schools, and helping to make this such a success for our kids. Students and their families were so appreciative of this opportunity, and as one parent said “this was the highlight of our summer!”. It sure was!