Joanne Ryan (standing), Supervisor of the Extended School Year Program in the Westfield Public Schools, meets with (l-r) Dianne Smith, school librarian and program paraprofessional; Mary Ann Morrison, teacher of the hearing impaired; and Robin Ince, registered nurse, to discuss the services the district is providing this summer to help special needs students advance toward attaining their goals. Credits: Westfield Public Schools
July 23, 2014 at 1:39 PM
The Westfield Public School District’s Extended School Year Program for pre-school through high school students is coming to a close. The five-week program is designed for targeted students with special needs. In addition to fulfilling a state mandate intended for all public schools, Westfield’s program focuses on maintaining and strengthening students’ academic skills to prepare them for the new school year by providing special education and related services during the summer.
According to Michael Weissman, Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services, “For the most part, our own faculty and related service providers work with the children in the summer, resulting in consistency and efficiency all year round. The added benefit to the in-district program is that it continues to save us hundreds of thousands of dollars, since we would otherwise be required to find out-of-district facilities for these students.”
This summer the program enrolled 142 students. Twelve classrooms are utilized at Washington Elementary School for children in pre-school through fifth grades. Westfield High School is the location for four classes of students in grades six or higher.
“Students were selected to the program based on an established regression-recoupment analysis which demonstrates that a student experiences significant regression over breaks from school,” explained Joanne Ryan, Supervisor of the Extended School Year. “The maintenance of academic skills is vital, as well as the social and therapeutic activities offered to our students.” Related and supplemental services are an integral part of the program that helps students advance toward attaining their annual goals.
The program, which is in its 12th year in Westfield, runs Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 1 PM through August 5. Specialists are available in Speech, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Behavior/Social Skills, along with special education teachers, paraprofessionals and a registered school nurse.