In just a few very busy weeks, about 45 teachers, therapists and counselors created summer school kits for the 700 children that are now participating in Orange-Ulster BOCES Special Education virtual/remote summer school.
These kits include workbooks that were created by BOCES staff
“Nothing takes the place of coming to school and seeing your teachers and your friends,” said Kerri B. Stroka, Director of Special and Alternative Education for OU BOCES, “but this team of amazing people gave their all to make summer school come alive in the homes of each of our students.”
What’s in the kits
The learning kits, built around an amusement park theme, feature instructional workbooks and accompanying materials and supplies students needed to work on weekly projects. The learning kit materials were put together with consideration of what kinds of things students needed to engage in hands-on learning activities but might not have in their house.
So, in addition to pencils, crayons and paper, some kits included thera-putty that occupational therapists specified or a beach ball that the physical therapist would need for their session.
“We heard our parents tell us what their children were missing once we went remote in March,” Stroka said, adding that parents were concerned about how much computer time students were being asked to log.
“Our focus for the summer has shifted more to hands-on learning activities for our students wherever possible while trying to limit students’ screen time. And, to do hands-on, students need materials and supplies.”
The workbook’s design and production all happened at Orange-Ulster BOCES. The Communications Department has worked to create the graphics and print the workbooks themselves, all in a way that is intended to be appealing to their students.
“The effort and thoughtfulness that went into this is just so amazing,” said Amanda Petryk-Tirado, whose daughter was the first student to get one of the kits. “These last few months have been so challenging, and I am so blown away by how BOCES is really working to reimagine virtual learning by providing all these resources to families.”
“The love all of the staff have for our students is palpable in these summer school kits,” said Kerri. “Every hand that touched them – and every mind that dreamed them - did so with unwavering commitment.”