Weekly Feature



2011-07-28 / Local News

In Lancaster, kids get out of the summer classroom

by CHRIS GRAHAM Intern


Lancaster Middle School science teacher Ted Fuqua watches as Shyanna Ling does water sample testing and Matt DePalma records data at Ellicott Creek for class discussion. Students from the school went on a field trip to Glen Falls Park in Williamsville on Tuesday. 
Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Lancaster Middle School science teacher Ted Fuqua watches as Shyanna Ling does water sample testing and Matt DePalma records data at Ellicott Creek for class discussion. Students from the school went on a field trip to Glen Falls Park in Williamsville on Tuesday. Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com As temperatures hit the 90s the last thing students in summer programs want is to be confined to a classroom. Lancaster Middle School understands these concerns and is taking the idea of summer enrichment and altering it.

The Lancaster summer school program has undergone some changes, and Ami Measer, who serves as the program coordinator/ principal, has a new outlook for the students.

“The big idea with this program is learning through discovery,” Measer said.

The program covers the four main subject areas of science, social studies, math and English.

“No matter what the topic is for the day, all four subject areas are planned together, so they receive an overarching concept,” she said.

While Measer said this program is for students in the seventh and eighth grades who have struggled, it is all about remediation and enrichment.

The co-circular program that was developed in March runs for 14 sessions through July and has 35 Lancaster Middle students in attendance. One of the sessions was a science class field trip to Glen Park in Williamsville for experiments on water.

Measer said building a strong relationship with the students was key.

“We were able to have five to six teachers including myself that got to know the kids right away,” she said. “These teachers are very out of the box thinkers and are not the typical four-walls teachers.”

Measer said that after the students go through the program they will think differently about learning and also gain experience solving problems by working together.

While Measer was excited about the program, she said the credit for the idea of the students not being in a normal classroom setting goes to Marie Perini, the school district’s assistant superintendent for secondary curriculum.

Measer said that after the Lancaster Youth Bureau could no longer fund the summer program, Perini was brought in to adjust it.

“We wanted to get them out of the classroom. They don’t sit in a chair for more than 20 minutes and they are always moving around,” Perini said. “I want to see this continue with the out-of-the-box thinking on how we teach our students.”

One of the teachers involved with the program is science teacher Ted Fuqua.

“I’m sold. After seeing these kids on the first day I don’t think any of them would have said they were looking forward to this, but now they would say they have enjoyed themselves and are having fun,” Fuqua said.

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