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Wednesday, June 1, 2016
District 13
School on Saturday? You bet.
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Second-graders Grace Mahoney and Adrianna Tumminello show off the crafts they made.

After spending five days a week engrossed in English, math, history and science, many children don’t even want to think about school on a Saturday. But for 135 students in District 13, school is exactly where they want to be.

The district is holding its first Saturday enrichment program in partnership with SCOPE Educational Services. The Winter Explorations Program includes four workshops — French, Spanish, Kitchen Science and Arts and Crafts — and runs for five weeks at the James A. Dever School with classes ending this Saturday.

“It has been a success,” said Denise DeMeo, director of the program. “No one has said a negative thing.”

DeMeo, a second-grade teacher at Dever, said this was a pilot program to gauge the community’s interest in a Saturday enrichment program. She said the response was very good, and hopes to offer an expanded program in the fall. She said teachers in the district already have ideas for future workshops.

For several years, parents in the district have been asking for a foreign language program. DeMeo said because of that, it was a priority to include that in this enrichment program, and two teachers from the Central High School District were brought in. Josephine Evola, who teaches at Memorial Junior High School, led the Spanish instruction. Allison Kaminsky, a permanent substitute, taught French. She is a certified French teacher and has even lived in France.

Kaminsky, who taught one class of students ranging from kindergarten through sixth-grade, said this program has been a great experience. “I just love the idea of introducing a foreign language at such an early age,” she said.

In her class, students have been learning the days and months, colors and numbers, and how to hold a basic conversation. For the last class, Kaminsky will expose them to French food.

Lisa Phillips has been teaching the arts and crafts class. She has had students make buttons, picture frames, Chinese New Year fans, heart baskets and Valentine’s Day cards.

Phillips said the students have always comes to her class ready to participate and get their hands dirty. “What’s not to enjoy? It’s art,” she said. “It’s creative. There’s some instruction but it’s letting them enjoy themselves.”


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