Extended Year Program keeps the learning going

Colonial School District  |  Posted on

Special guest Michael Clipman visited ESY to lead the students in a Drum Circle.

More than 90 students worked on “being your best you” in Colonial School District’s Extended School Year (ESY) program for 2021. Established by federal special education law, ESY provides students an opportunity to continue practicing goal setting, motor and speech/language skills, socialization, and academics to help them not lose ground over the summer break.

“This year we also had a few special things, including a Drum Circle and Field Day, to try to keep a summer camp feel while still working on academic tasks,” said Dr. Cait Gilmartin, Colonial’s supervisor of elementary special education.

Professional musician Michael Clipman was a special guest at ESY this summer and led the Drum Circle, where the students participated in group and solo activities, as well as call and response.

“I liked everything about the drum circle!” exclaimed fourth grader Jordan King.

“I liked when we got to do our own thing,” added third grader Reed Hyman.

“The Drum Circle promoted socialization and positive group dynamics, as well as rhythm, which is a great contributor to reading development,” explained Dr. Gilmartin.

For Field Day, occupational and physical therapists, along with teachers and aides, designed a variety of fun activities where all students could participate.

“The Field Day was my favorite activity that we did this summer,” said fifth grader Torie Dunmore.

Stations included water games, an obstacle course, a treasure hunt, dancing, and parachute games.

“I liked the obstacle course with Ms. Monica and Ms. Nicole,” said third grader Ky’leem Williams.

“My favorite thing was the treasure hunt, because I like to explore things,” said third grader Aiden Monteleone.

In addition to offering a memorable culminating activity to celebrate another summer of ESY, Field Day also allowed students to practice physical, social and teamwork skills they were developing throughout the ESY program, while providing positive social feedback to their peers.

Eligibility for the Extended School Year program is based on criteria that are monitored throughout the school year.