Extended Learning

What a journey at South Street Elementary School. This summer, the Journeys Summer Camp -- for students entering kindergarten to third grade -- is based around the theme "Around Town and into Outer Space."

Coordinator Kelly Morrison says the camp has been a smashing success.

"So far the camp has been fun," she said. "By creating engaging activities around this theme, our campers are able to alleviate summer regression in reading and writing. Also, campers are having engaging experiences that will benefit them by building background experiences that will help them with future academic situations."

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Fitchburg art show was sight to see

On Wednesday, June 2, I had the pleasure of attending the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Art Showcase at Memorial Middle School. This is a Fitchburg Public Schools afterschool program for children in elementary and middle schools that is entirely grant funded. The program provides these students with afterschool snacks, dinner and homework support, and a wide variety of mindfulness, team building, creative, and problem solving experiences and activities. These are just a sampling of the experiences that the students can participate in during the year: drama, engineering, nutrition, kitchen science, weaving, art, mock trial, scrapbooking, Legoland and dozens of other imaginative activities.

The students had the opportunity to showcase what they learned and what they created for their parents and the public. It was amazing to view the exceptional quality of their final products. More amazing was to witness the enormous pleasure and pride students displayed in presenting. There was definitely as sense of celebration that was contagious and entertaining. The evening culminated in a musical production and dance demonstration that was very special. Congratulations to all the kids that took part in the showcase.

You should be proud.

This program could not be as successful if it wasn't for the hard work and commitment of the coordinators; Becky Maki, Kelly Morrison, Sue DiGeronimo, Dina Gagne, Kim Bellio, and Sue Tourigny.

Also vital to the success of the program are the teaching staff and the community partners; Fitchburg Art Museum, The Fitchburg Police Department, Eddie's Music, UMass, Growing Places, The Green Team, United Way, Be PAWsitive, SODEXO. and Ali Cromwell (Shirley Police Department).

Bill McSheehy


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Members of the Deacon Jones Art Club celebrated the closing of their first art show at the Gallery Sitka on June 22.

The 12 seventh-and eighth-grade girls from Longsjo Middle School participated in the art club as part of a grant from the Deacon Jones Foundation of Las Vegas.

The foundation was formed by Elizabeth Jones, the widow of former NFL superstar and Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones.

The foundation was formed to assist young people and the communities in which they live. David Bodurtha, who is a regional manager at Jackson Family Wines, helped to raise funds for the grant and wanted to see it go to a Fitchburg school. Bodurtha grew up in Fitchburg and his wife, Amy, was a teacher at the McKay Arts Academy.

The Deacon Jones Art Club is an afterschool program that is taught by Sandra Robillard, who has been teaching art in the Longsjo building for the past 11 years.

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A typical Longsjo Middle School student learns the fundamentals of drawing and painting in art class. A group of 16 talented young artists are learning to master new mediums at a new after-school program that meets twice per week. "I wanted to give students who are very interested in art the opportunity to explore different types of art," said art teacher Sandra Robillard.

These 16 students meet after school twice per week. On Tuesdays, the students hone their skills making 2D art, said Robillard. But on Thursdays, students' projects jump off the page. Then they make 3D sculptures, which was why on Thursday eighth-grade student Lea Nogueira could be found sanding down the edges of a molded clay penguin. Nogueira and the rest of her peers in the after-school program were "some of the best students" from Robillard's art classes.

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Crocker Elementary School was filled with excitement Thursday night during the "Bring Your Parent" to the 21st Century After-School Program.

Parents flocked to the school -- 25 families to be exact -- to watch their children participate in four different enrichment activities. The fun-filled evening ended with a dinner prepared by the "Our Kids in the Kitchen" class.

"The 21st Century funding is to supplement and add on to the things that are going on during the school day," said Crocker Elementary School 21st Century Site Coordinator Kim Bellio. "Our goal is to provide academic enrichment through project-based learning, to also promote community service through service-learning activities and to provide positive social growth. All activities are connected to the standards that we teach throughout the school year, as well as activities that they just like to do."

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Crocker Elementary School 21st Century Scholars were helping out Punxsutawney Phil. He was tired of going up and down his burrow year after year so our students designed and built elevators to get him to the top of his burrow in time to predict the weather!

And sadly...the official Punxsutawney Phil did make it out of his burrow and saw his shadow!!! 6 more weeks of winter. Perhaps our little engineers shouldn’t have helped him out!

Students working with Mrs. Goodlett on Kitchen Science in the 21st Century Community Learning Center before school program at South Street Elementary School made it rain in a jar.

Students working with Ms. Aube in the 21st Century Community Learning Center after school program at South Street Elementary School created totem poles focused on their personal spirit animals. Each student’s spirit animal had a blurb written by that student explaining why this animal was representative of themselves.