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Extended School Year students celebrate

Extended School Year students gather with instructors for a group activity during the summer program. (CONTRIBUTED)
Extended School Year students gather with instructors for a group activity during the summer program. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Most students celebrated ‘School’s Out’ on May 21 when the 2015-2016 school year ended. However, 100-plus students returned to campus and enjoyed their end-of-year party the week of June 29.

These students in special education attended the Extended School Year (ESY) program that Madison City Schools offers. Approximately 100 children gathered for the closing ceremonies at Mill Creek Elementary School.

Mill Creek served children in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Students in grades 7-12 attended Extended School Year activities at James Clemens High School.

For the closing ceremony, members of Madison Board of Education, school employees and Central Office staff members enjoyed listening to the students’ songs and seeing their skits.

“We try to make Extended School Year an enjoyable program for students by addressing academic and social needs in a thematic approach,” Director of Special Education Dr. Maria Kilgore said. Instructors worked to integrate in the community with a field trip, requested businesses to provide explanations about their jobs and offered university students an authentic internship experience.

“Parents are cooperative in making sure their children are ready for learning and attend every day,” Kilgore said. “And the partnership we have with universities in providing help is invaluable. It is a win-win for all.”

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, Mill Creek lead teacher Zandra Morgan said. Michelle Hyams was lead teacher at James Clemens.

Among their numerous activities, both age groups watched a movie at Monaco Pictures. Domino’s employees visited Mill Creek to demonstrate the steps in making pizza and served the popular food to students.

Each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals served as the basis for curriculum and services at both schools.

High school and middle school students from Madison also volunteered. The staff included behavioral and speech specialists and physical and occupational therapists. District school buses transported students to school and field trips.

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