Rising Stars Summer Program Underway At Seth Boyden Elementary School

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From South Orange-Maplewood School District:

In a classroom not far from the hallway intersection of “Kindness Court” and “Responsibility Way,” rising second-graders were using laptops to sharpen their reading skills with teacher Marissa DeMartino and paraprofessional Kamisha Hammond.

Just down the hall, teacher Sarah Haldeman worked with a small group of incoming second-grade students reading a book about fire safety.

Outside other students were enjoying a break, shooting baskets on the court and playing in the playground.

It was all part of the first full day of the Rising Stars program at the Seth Boyden Elementary School today. Jill Gergel, a 17-year veteran reading teacher at the school, directs the program. Roughly 100 students are participating in the program this summer, she said.

Teacher Marissa DeMartino works with the Rising Stars student.

“It’s about reinforcing the content of the previous school year’s academics,” Gergel said.

But there are elements of summer camp fun in the program as well, Gergel said, including a visit by Turtle Back Zoo staff who will bring in a few of the zoo’s animals.

Rising kindergarteners are also at the school this summer participating in the LeapStart program, run by Courtney DeVomecourt, who works during the school year as an academic intervention teacher for grades K-2 at Clinton Elementary School. The program is aimed at getting the young learners acclimated to the new surroundings, people, and learning opportunities that will come with being a kindergarten student in September. Among the teachers working in the program are Claire Sinclair, Samantha Imperatro, and Elissa Rosenburgh.

Teacher Marissa DeMartino, far right, and Paraprofessional Kamisha Hammond, far left, assist students using laptops.

“Dozens of students have begun making the most of their summer in the Rising Stars and the LeapStart programs in order to start strong in September,” said Dr. Ronald Taylor, Superintendent of the School District of South Orange and Maplewood. “I want to thank and acknowledge Ms. Gergel, Ms. DeVomecourt, and all of the teachers, paraprofessionals, and all other staff who are working to make these programs available to our students.”


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