Summer Options: From
the Superintendent’s Seat
Dr. Carole G. Hankin with Randi T. Sachs
The start of spring is a signal for parents
that summer is right around the corner, and it’s time to finalize
plans for how those summer vacation months will be spent. Fortunately,
each summer there seems to be more and more choices, and with
a little ingenuity you can plan a summer that will satisfy both
you and your children, and will ensure that your child will continue
to learn even when school is out.
While eight-week sleep-away and day camp
programs best suit many families, others are finding that they
like the option of varying their child’s programs, and they no
longer have to deal with as many restrictions or penalties as
they have in the past. Many camps are offering the flexibility
for you to sign your child to as many weeks as you choose, rather
than holding fast to the four- or eight-week standards. Although
camps may not volunteer that information, you should feel free
to request that they accommodate your schedule, even if it means
rewording the registration form.
Aside from general recreation camps, there
are numerous programs that offer children the opportunity to focus
on their interests or talents. Look beyond the camp descriptions
to see what programs are being offered by your schools, museums,
parks, colleges and universities, athletic organizations, and
even neighboring school districts. Perhaps the theater or dance
program that wouldn’t fit into your child’s schedule during the
school year has summer classes. Science programs can appeal even
to reluctant students when they include such activities as nature
exploration or rocket launching. You may find that selecting two
or three different, shorter programs will make your child’s summer
more exciting than staying in one program for two months.
Ask your child about what he or she would
like to accomplish or explore this summer. Take advantage of the
school vacation to take up a second musical instrument (or a first
instrument for the second time). Often, school districts offer
free music programs.
You should also carefully consider whether
your child should use the summer months to improve academic skills,
based on his or her school performance. If summer school is not
the best option, look for a recreational camp that also offers
academic coaching, or speak to the director of the camp your child
has previously attended to see if he or she is willing to make
arrangements for on-camp tutoring sessions.
Older children who see summer as a time
to earn money should be encouraged to consider doing an internship
or volunteer program that will enhance their college applications
in just a few short years. Parents may choose to “subsidize” such
programs to make up for the missed earnings.
While you are planning your options for
the summer, be sure to schedule in some free time for you and
your children. If your family work schedule requires that school-age
children be busy every day of the week, try to leave several weekends
open for true relaxation, even if it means declining an occasional
The summer will fly by fast. Take the time
now to find out about the many different programs your child might
enjoy. With perseverance and determination you can design a summer
program that will truly answer your family’s needs and create
some wonderful memories for your children to draw on for many
Dr. Hankin is superintendent of Syosset
Central School District. Randi Sachs is Public Information Officer
of Syosset Schools.
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