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ESY students make pizzas

Denver Patterson, from left, Cameron Teague, Hyland Walfield and Andrew Williams learn to make cheese pizza during the Extended School Year (ESY) program, which convenes at Mill Creek Elementary School. (RECORD PHOTO/GREGG PARKER)
Denver Patterson, from left, Cameron Teague, Hyland Walfield and Andrew Williams learn to make cheese pizza during the Extended School Year (ESY) program, which convenes at Mill Creek Elementary School. (RECORD PHOTO/GREGG PARKER)

MADISON – In the Extended School Year (ESY) program, Madison students are enjoying memory-making experiences, such as learning to make their favorite food — pizza.

The literacy-based program “strives to help students maintain academic knowledge, as well as teach and encourage positive behavioral and social choices” to increase self-confidence, lead teacher Zandra Morgan said. The curriculum is based on each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals.

Meeting at Mill Creek Elementary School this summer, these students in special education from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade learn from eight certified special education teachers from across the Madison district, numerous paraprofessionals and volunteers from Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools.

Masters-level speech pathologists from Alabama A&M University also are involved with instruction. Students majoring in special and/or collaborative education are participating from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Athens State University and Auburn University.

Students gain experience in reading, language arts, math and thematic blocks. Each of eight classrooms can use the computer lab and playgrounds daily.

“Our theme is favorite children’s authors. Each week, we focus on a different author, including Jan Brett, Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle and Laura Numeroff,” Morgan said. “We hope to inspire our students to love reading by engaging them in interactive readings, crafts and dress-up days.”

Helped by Tony Osani and Jessica Knox with Domino’s/Valley Pizza, students observed the steps to create a chess pizza on June 18 at Mill Creek. “Domino’s generously donated pizza for students following presentations,” Morgan said.

Hughes Road store manager D.J. Farmer demonstrated ‘stretching’ dough and spinning it in the air. Then, Farmer spread tomato sauce on the dough with a ‘spoodle,’ a combination spoon/ladle. Finally, she sliced pizzas with a rolling cutter.

Domino’s busiest weekday is Friday, most popular toppings are pepperoni and sausage, and busiest day of the year is Iron Bowl, Farmer said.

On June 24, students will travel to Monaco Pictures to view “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.”

Dr. Maria Kilgore and Jacqueline Wilson-Bradley are ESY program directors. Michelle Hyams is lead teacher at James Clemens.

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