Under the direction of Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Chris Zublionis, and IB/AP Coordinator, Kerri Titone, the first session of the 2021 North Shore Schools Summer Program began on July 12 – July 23, 2021 while the second session followed from 7/26 – 8/6, 2021 at North Shore High School and Sea Cliff School. O
ver 400 students in grades K-12 happily participated in a number of fun and educational free classes that started at 9 am and ended at 12 noon from Monday-Thursday each week.
Dr. Zublionis stated, “Thanks to the support of the Board of Education, the North Shore Summer Experience has expanded to a three-hour daily program in its second year with even more options for students. Led by Dr. Titone and our talented North Shore faculty, the program has inspired learning, creativity, and wellness in our students.”
The District including the Athletics and Fine and Performing Arts departments provided most of the materials for the North Shore Summer Program. The summer classes included:
- Classes for Grades K-2 and 3-5:
Garden, Book Clubs, Creative Writing, STEM Experiences, Math & Games, Drawing & Painting, Making Music, Dance, Kid Power, Yoga, Growth Mindset/Mindfulness/Mood Meter, and Multi-Sports
- Classes for Grades 6-8:
Writing for Creativity and Argument, Getting Ready for Algebra 1, Science & Wilderness: Outdoor Wonder, Current Events & Community Service, Public Speaking, Ukulele, Theater, Band, Orchestra, Chorus, Speed Strength & Agility, Multi-Sports, and Yoga Lab
- Classes for Grades 9-12:
Career Readiness, Getting Ready for Geometry, STEM Explorations, Public Speaking, Thinking Like a Scientist, Theater, Orchestra, Chorus, Mindfulness & Stress Reduction, Connecting Through Book Clubs, and Speed, Strength & Agility
Dr. Titone said, “This was the synthesis of student interest, teacher availability, and historical enrollment from 2020. We had courses that fell into the
categories of academics, creativity, and activity. Some classes were in Session 1 or 2 only, and/or were implemented at 9 am or 10:30 am only.
Classes that were in high demand such as Drawing & Painting, STEM, and Multi-Sports ran during at both times during Session 1 and 2.”
In the planning phases, districtwide emails were sent out to families in the community to inquire whether they had participated last year and what courses they wanted to see offered this summer. Dr. Titone stated, “We also looked at enrollments from 2020 to see which courses were popular. This was done to help maximize interest and enrollment in the program. In planning, we tried to think outside of the box, aiming to provide a variety of experiences for our kids. For example, students could choose from two classes from three categories (e.g., active, creative, or academic categories), engaging in different opportunities of their choice. Registrations were performed through Sign Up Genius. If a class filled up, we did our best to accommodate all student preferences, sometimes opening another section. No one was turned away!”
North Shore faculty and staff were excited to step into new roles as they supervised and taught summer classes. Dr. Titone continued,
“Our teachers are amazing! They were so innovative and creative, taking risks in their outdoor classrooms with new ideas and positive spirit. This program’s success was a testament to our amazing faculty, staff, and school community. Teachers embraced the opportunity and collaborated to provide a rich experience for our kids and families. But, most of all, the 2021 North Shore Summer Program would not be possible without the support of Dr. Zublionis and the Board of Education.
As the program got started in July, affirmative feedback from parents that their children were having positive experiences trying new things, meeting new friends, and continuing to learn and be engaged over the summer were continuously being received by the administration. Some students were even returning to school for the very first time since March 2020.
Throughout the program, students loved the different opportunities offered and felt safe because everyone was able to stay outdoors. A nurse and security personnel were available at each campus. COVID protocol included daily temperature checks, attestation forms, masks if indoors, and remaining 3-6 feet apart outside whenever possible.
Lots of water was provided and extra masks were available if needed. Many thanks to the Buildings and Grounds crews at Sea Cliff School and North Shore High School for maintaining the campus and fields as well assisting with the outdoor tents.
Even Interim Superintendent, Tom Dolan, got in on the action in August! To the enjoyment of the instructors and middle school and high school students in the Speed, Strength & Agility class, Dr. Dolan led a session called Umpire Boot Camp.
In his lesson, he talked about how umpires communicate with one another, and how they are the “third team” on the baseball field. Donning his umpire mask, he explained the important role of being an umpire and communicated the different rules, regulations, and hand-signals that an umpire does during a real game! The students learned so much and enjoyed meeting Dolan!
Physical education teacher Megan McCormack said, “The thing I noticed most was the pure joy and gratitude each child had. They made such growth and new friendships from other elementary schools; the older students were role models and leaders while working together and teaching the younger ones – real collaboration.”
Kerri Titone concluded by saying, “I would just like to add how much I appreciate all of the time and energy my colleagues contributed in order to make this a positive experience for our students for our second summer.
Our aides, secretaries, nurses, teachers, security, and custodians were such a great team and I am so proud to work with each of them. We have such a great community here – the families were so supportive, and we enjoyed seeing them at arrival and dismissal every day. We often heard how much their children enjoyed coming to school each day, loving the program, and asking for more.
Each day, it was wonderful to see our students enjoying these creative, active, and academic experiences, often even running into school!”
Article written by Shelly Newman with assistance from Kerri Titone. Photos by Shelly Newman, Kerri Titone, and Kirsten Clagnaz