Plainville Community Schools, 47 Robert Holcomb Way, Plainville CT 06062, (860)793-3200

S.T.A.R.S / Math Summer Program: A Winning Combination For Plainville Students

More than 100 Plainville elementary school aged students honed their reading and math skills, showed off their artistic talents and forged new friendships, as participants in the Plainville Community Schools S.T.A.R.S. (Strategies to Accelerate Reading Success) / Math Summer Program. The four week program, coordinated by Wheeler Elementary School second grade teacher Tawana Graham-Douglas, was held Monday through Friday during the month of July, at Linden Street School. "The program was a huge success, thanks to the amazing team of staff members and the tremendous support we received from a number of community partners," explained Graham-Douglas. One example of the community collaboration was the Plainville Wheeler Regional YMCA, which provided after program childcare for participating families. "The Y summer camp was helpful to parents who really wanted their child to participate in the summer program but faced the obstacle of childcare." Gnazzo's Food Center also supported the program by providing snacks for participants, not only during the summer, but also throughout the school year.

Students entering grades 1 " 5 in September were recommended by their previous year's teachers for participation in the summer program. Recommendations were based on individual student needs for literacy and / or numeracy support. The session began with a pre-assessment to determine the particular areas of focus for each student. Based on the outcome of the pre-assessments, students were placed in small groups with targeted instruction. This year, a tutor was on hand to provide small group instruction in mathematics. A "typical" day for program participants began with a cheerful greeting from program staff that focused first on creating a warm and inviting environment so students would be comfortable in the summer learning setting. Each day also featured a "mini" town meeting, morning class group meetings, shared reading and writing activities, independent reading and small group instruction. A portion of each day was devoted to both numeracy and literacy learning. Students focused on the math strands taught during the school year, working both collaboratively and one on one with summer program staff.The literacy portion of the program was centered on weekly themes based on grade level to get the students excited about reading. Themes included Space, Giants, Magic, Farm Animals, and more.

While the summer program included a variety of traditional teaching and learning methods, it also featured art integration as a primary component. Toffolon Elementary School Art Instructor Michael Zaba led a number of literacy and numeracy based art lessons using a variety of artistic mediums. The primary focus of the art integration was to connect art and numeracy based on the instructional concepts utilized in the program. Art projects included the creation of ladybugs by kindergarteners to support counting and symmetry concepts, while others created three dimensional robots and geometrically designed works. At the close of the program, an art show highlighting student work was held for S.T.A.R.S. / Math Summer Program families.

The S.T.A.R.S. program will resume with the start of the school year, providing literacy support to Plainville elementary school students district-wide.

"Our summer program team was simply outstanding. From the faculty to the paraprofessionals, Linden Principal Sue Greenbacker and staff members, custodians, and families " everyone worked together, going above and beyond each day to ensure the success of our students. This true collaboration reflected the collective commitment to help our children learn, grow and succeed. We look forward to their continued success when they return to school in September," said Graham-Douglas.

-Posted on August 5, 2009 at 02:10 PM

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