The New Visions Elementary School parking lot in Freeport was full on July 25, and even though school wasn’t in session, students carrying bulky instrument cases were seen walking to and from the lot with their parents.
The children were in grades four to eight, and were taking part in the Freeport School District’s Summer Academy of the Arts. The program is among the eclectic learning opportunities Freeport offers throughout the summer to help keep students interested in learning, including Smart Scholars, Pathways to Technology, Summer Science Research, the English Language Learner Program and the Middle School Summer Academy. Each touches on music, art, dance, technology, the language arts, literature or science.
In total, the district’s 13 summer programs welcome about 2,200 students.
On one floor of the New Visions School last Thursday, children were seen, engrossed in books, while on another floor they were practicing their flutes and violins or learning dance choreography in the gym.
Freeport is one of the first Long Island districts to host LitCamp, a new four-week summer literacy program created by renowned author and literacy expert Pam Allyn.
According to Freeport school representatives, LitCamp is an interactive program that was created in collaboration with Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company. The program combines reading and writing lessons designed to develop seven key strengths: belonging, friendship, kindness, curiosity, confidence, courage and hope. The goal is to better equip students to lead lives filled with accomplishment, joy and community, officials said.
LitCamp is intended to reverse the so-called “summer slide” — the loss of reading and writing skills during the summer. Instead, Freeport officials said, they hope students make a “summer leap” by staying engaged and engulfed in books.
“We are pleased to provide enrichment and support for our students beyond the school year,” Schools Superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham said. “Our summer programs allow our students to continue their efforts to reach higher levels of understanding and achievement in literacy, math, science and the arts.”
According to Kuncham, Freeport is among the few Long Island school systems that offer summer programs at no cost to parents or taxpayers. (They are paid for through a combination of grants.)
“I know the importance of reading,” said Fiona Foster, the mother of an 8-year-old taking part in LitCamp. “Although my son is at grade-level reading, and he loves reading, the more reading he does, the better for him. I want him to go up a level or two. I want him to be ready for third grade, because this will be the first year taking the third grade-reading test. Last year he participated, and his reading level went up a by three levels just in participating in this program for six weeks.”