Extended School Year (ESY) provided fun summer learning opportunities

West Jefferson Hills School District  |  Posted on

Several students in the district spent part of their summer with at school during the Extended School Year (ESY). Extended School Year is offered by West Jefferson Hills School District for those students who may need additional instruction and reinforcement of critical learning skills over the summer months. The program is designed for all grade levels and ran Monday through Thursday during the month of July to provide the needed resources to alleviate summer regression while offering a fun and engaging educational experience. The amazing teachers, paraprofessionals and parents worked incredibly hard to make this program a success.

Below is a recap of some of the exciting learning opportunities:

Elementary Level – Teachers Meredith Hazen and Courtney Booher with Paraprofessionals Patty Birch, Leslie DuJordan, Amy Rogers

  • Theme-based learning activities to keep students engaged and motivated. Themes included: America (Fourth of July), Beach/Under the Sea, Animals (Habitats), Camping, and Dinosaurs. Each day provided instruction tailored to the theme of the week.
  • Practiced math skills and money counting by trading quarters for dollars to see what they could buy from the prize bin at the end of each week. Students also counted money during calendar time using a variety of coins. Individualized math skills were also reinforced including greater than or less than, word problems, adding, and subtracting.
  • Successfully completed a scavenger hunt by solving animal riddles.
  • Learned how to follow a recipe. Students made s’mores in the microwave during Camping Week, a sand treat with vanilla pudding, vanilla wafers, and Swedish fish during beach week, and red, white, and blue skewers with strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows during America week.
  • Reading goals were individualized based on each student’s needs. Students worked on reading fluency, reading comprehension, sight words, word building, rhyming, etc.
  • Community-Based Instruction field trips to the Jefferson Hills Public Library where students read books with the librarian and created crafts including moon dust and an animal tent.
  • Students also visited the Brunswick Bowling Alley in Belle Vernon for a fun day of bowling.

Middle-School and High-School Level – PHMS Teacher Ashley Paradise with Paraprofessional Glen Embree, TJHS Teacher Emily Leininger with Paraprofessional Cynthia Randolph

  • PHMS students read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and completed activities and projects related to the story. Reading a story together allowed all students to participate and discuss a common topic regardless of their strengths and areas of need.
  • Navigated the middle school and new high school building so students feel comfortable with the building and begin forming relationships with principals and secretaries throughout the summer to ease anxiety and boost confidence.
  • Directed social skills instruction and interaction opportunities practiced and reinforced throughout activities each day.
  • Community Based Instruction to provide educational experiences in naturally-occurring community environments and “real life experiences.” Students enjoyed field trips to Giant Eagle, Eat’n Park and Bowling.
  • Life Skills and Cooking instruction included reading recipes, kitchen safety, exploring and sampling new foods, reading schedules, cleaning up, following directions and taking turns.
  • Recreation and leisure activities consisted of science experiments, painting, board games, escape rooms, puzzle building, STEM/STEAM building, and reading based on student specific interests.