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Students retain skills, knowledge in Extended School Year (ESY) Program

This summer, the Extended School Year (ESY) program is helping students in special education.

About 55 students in preschool and elementary programs are enrolled and 13 in secondary study from June 4-29. “Mill Creek Elementary School is housing the preschool and elementary program,” Dr. Maria Kilgore said. “Liberty Middle School is housing the secondary program.”

Kilgore is director of special education for Madison City Schools, while Jamie Hill is coordinator of special education.

“Summer school is important and required for many students who demonstrated regression of skills over time periods without services,” Kilgore said. When school resumes, “re-teaching” will help.

All teachers are certified in special education — some with master’s or specialist degrees. Each student’s Individualized Educational Program covers the cost.

Laurie Viers is leading secondary ESY and has worked the past three summers as elementary lead. Sylvia Lambert and Deana Aumalis also are ESY teachers.

Viers said students can lose significant academic knowledge during summer — enough to set back by half to a whole year of instruction.

In addition, students can regress in “social, behavioral, physical, speech and daily living skills,” Viers said. “Students that receive physical and occupational therapies need to continue (to) maintain physical movement and strength.”

Other students need speech therapy or “purposeful interactions with peers” for social skills. “ESY provides much needed structure for students with disabilities,” Viers said.

During summer, a day typically includes 30 minutes of physical activities, 1.5 hours of academic goal instruction, one hour of cooking lessons and one hour of technology time. This year’s theme is “Health and Fitness (to) emphasize to our students the importance of staying active, eating healthy and proper hygiene,” Viers said.

Students will take three field trips for a movie, tour of Madison Hospital and swimming at the Hogan Family YMCA. The last day of summer school, they’ll make pizzas at Domino’s Pizza.

Summer school “is a wonderful experience for all,” Kilgore said. “I believe the certified staff, college interns and volunteers learn as much as the students.”

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