Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer School Is Heating Up!

Janesville Summer School Offers Something for Just About Everyone!

Picture of Paul StengelGuest Blogger: - Paul Stengel, Director, Summer School

Six little words. By themselves, these words are nothing more than sight words that are posted on 1st and 2nd Grade classroom walls throughout our schools. However, when strung together in a magical order and uttered from the mouth of a child, they can bring the sunny thoughts of a fun and relaxing summer to a screeching halt. What are these powerful six little words?

“I’m bored…..there’s nothing to do.”

That’s right, since the dawn of the first day of the first ever summer break, these six little words have been enough to make parents’ skin crawl and go scrambling to the calendar to see how many days are left until their kids are back in school. The good news is that this little expression is becoming increasingly rare throughout Janesville these days. That’s because the School District of Janesville’s Summer School program has a bounty of opportunities for students to become engaged in during the summer months.

The 2016 Janesville School District’s Summer School session began on June 13 and is now in full swing. Students and their families are taking full advantage of a wide array of offerings available in all 20 of the district’s school buildings. There are over 3,500 students signed up for at least one course during the summer, and this number is expected to grow as more students take advantage of offerings during July and August. By the end of summer, close to 40% of the School District of Janesville’s 10,300 students will have participated in at least one of our Summer School offerings.

June is bustin’ out all over with opportunities for students. Elementary and middle school students are able to attend programs at their own neighborhood or any elementary or  middle school. During these programs, students become actively engaged in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math), physical education, reading, math, arts and cultural education, play productions, and even small engine repair! At the high schools, students are able to take advantage of credit recovery classes and physical fitness training.

When the temperature heats up in July, so do the Summer School offerings! In addition to the traditional “academic” type classes, students are able to explore their interests and participate in more “enrichment” type courses. Students may learn computer programming and robotics, hike different portions of the Ice Age Trail, learn about outdoor survival, and even go canoeing and kayaking! In History Camp, students will learn about architecture and explore the past by taking field trips to different parts of the city. On one of the days, the students will be touring Oak Hill Cemetery to learn about interesting people, their history, and their connections with Janesville. Did someone just turn on the A/C? --because summer school is getting really cool!

Much like a summer blockbuster movie that gets a lot of hype and attention, the School District of Janesville’s Summer School program also has its own blockbusters. The Global Ambassador Academy will provide a chance for students to learn what an ambassador is and to learn side by side with students from China and Mexico. And, who could  forget about the ever popular Summer School musical featuring the extremely talented students of Craig and Parker and area school districts?! This year’s show features the musical Carousel and will be held the weekends of July 15 - 24.  As always, it will be a must see!

During the dog days of summer in August, things slow down, and alas, so do the number of offerings provided in Summer School. However, students will still have opportunities to brush up on their academics as they prepare for school that will start in a couple of weeks. In addition, many music, orchestra, choir, and band camps take place throughout August,  allowing students to get their musical skills tuned up before school starts on September 1.

As you can see, there are a plethora of options available through the School District of Janesville’s Summer School program. Dare I say, here in Janesville, it’s quite possible that those six little words “I’m bored….there’s nothing to do” could go unspoken this summer!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

With the school year ending, everything starts anew

As the days lengthen and the temperatures rise, we recognize that the close of another school year is upon us. All of your efforts and hard work of the past 10 months is being realized now through students transitioning from grade to grade, from elementary to middle school, or with graduation ceremonies. Our students, parents, teachers and staff have been working together since last August, and the close of the school year is welcomed—for different reasons.

For some, the end of the school year is an opportunity to reflect on what was. So much can happen in the course of the school calendar, and sometimes, in the moment, it may be difficult to recognize the gains we have been able to achieve.

Some may look at the first few weeks of June as a time to think about their careers—perhaps planning to attend a workshop or other professional development session to help them in the coming school year.

Others may be looking to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge over the next several weeks, making sure that they are ready for the next group of students that will be coming to their schools for 2016-17.

And, others may be looking at a change in career or even moving on to retirement. Certainly new beginnings there!

We should all be proud of the work we have been able to accomplish this year. You can see it in the faces of the children that walk through our hallways. You can definitely see it in the proud faces of parents as they watch their children walk across the stage to pick up their high school diploma. Be assured that your efforts have played a role in making that possible.

Whatever will be new for you after June 9, I want to thank you all for the work you have done over the past school year to help us achieve our mission of providing an education to every child. Make the most of the last few days of school, enjoy the summer, and I look forward to seeing you again in the fall!