Mineola special ed summer program grows

The Island Now

An increased number of special education students spent their summer at the Mineola School District’s  six-week extended school year program, officials said last Thursday.

The program, which served 88 students, helped them with academics, work and life skills with activities that focus on things like reading, travel and self-advocacy, said Laurie Melesh, chairwoman of the district’s Committee on Special Education.

“It was really not just school, it was adults and children sharing their summer together and the relationships that I have observed between teachers, staff and students were really truly remarkable,”  Catherine Fishman, the district’s director of pupil personnel services, said during her presentation to the Mineola school board last Thursday.

This year, the program offered five half-day classes and five full-day classes, with some students receiving only related services.

Students this summer learned to navigate the Long Island Rail Road and traveled to Mineola’s village pool and local restaurants, Melesh said. 

Classes participated in a number of life skills activities that reinforced the academics taught in their classroom, including a school store, community service and community trips, with full-day students having the option to attend the drama and dance competition, Melesh said.

The Committee on Special Education determines which students attend the program, Melesh said. 

 Fishman said summers are very different from the regular school year, as  students and teachers  have more opportunity to interact.

“The kind of trust that our students have developed with the teachers is a true testament to [their] dedication,” Fishman said, “it’s just the way Mineola rolls.”

By Neglah Sharma

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