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Summer programming mixes learning and fun


Students participating in summer programs at all three elementary schools and the middle school are keeping their brains active and their social skills sharp, while having fun at the same time.

“Our summer learning program gives students the opportunity to have fun, feel connected and build confidence for the year ahead,” said Middle School Dean of Students Elaine Flatow, who is the middle school’s Summer Learning Academy coordinator.

This grant-funded summer programming is an opportunity for students who struggled academically to catch up and also reinforce knowledge learned during the previous school year.

“Our goal is to increase connections to school in a positive way, while also focusing on academics,” said Flatow.

The SLA middle schoolers kicked off their programming through a series of icebreaker activities such as lining up by birth year, or tossing a beach ball that had questions all over it.

“It seems simple, but these kinds of activities allow students to get to know each other and foster a dialogue,” said Flatow.

A typical day includes dynamic activities centered on reading, writing and math before branching off into groups for the project work.

The middle schoolers work collaboratively on projects like building a water slide, designing a bridge using popsicle sticks, computer coding and making a solar oven (they roasted s’mores!), all while applying the math skills they learned.

“Mixing the grades was a great way for the older kids to be a positive influence on our younger students, and it gave them an opportunity to get to know each other,” said Flatow.

Another advantage of attending the summer enrichment programs is that students are in smaller groups.

“We’re able to give personalized attention to each student,” said Melissa Lowden, elementary Summer Success coordinator. “It’s a great opportunity for students to meet a new face and benefit from a new style of teaching.”

Lowden said that summer programming reinforces foundational skills for the younger students in kindergarten and first grade, while the second through fifth graders strengthen their reading and math skills. Plus, it’s fun!

Throughout the summer, elementary students enjoyed a lemonade day, experienced read-alouds outside on beach towels, and participated in a theme week that included hat day and sunglass day.

Another memorable activity was a bird unit, tailored for second and third-graders. Led by teacher Jennifer Crucetti, students practiced writing, researching, data collection and making observations – all related to birding.

Looking ahead, Cohoes students are well-positioned for another new school year, with a bunch of new friends to say hi to in the halls.

“I’m feeling good about starting sixth grade now,” said one incoming middle-schooler.

Preparing our students for success in tomorrow’s world.

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