Thanks for the Forum

Thanks for publishing “Dining with Dor” which could just as soon have been called “Dying with Dor” (U.S. 1, July 10). I love how U.S. 1 not only allows but invites constructive edginess. Friends, relatives, and complete strangers out and about are telling me how they got their hands on the article: while visiting an Alzheimer patient at Parker in Monroe, the Whole Earth Center, Small World, forwarded links, etc. Thank for your providing a forum for issues that are as important as they are uncomfortable.

Dorothy Mullen

Patton Avenue

Princeton Blairstown Center Enables Student Engagement All Year

Many of us welcome the good weather, more relaxed attitudes, and less crowded commutes that summer in the tri-state area brings. However, for those of us who are educators, it is hard to enjoy the benefits of summer without feeling uneasy about its other implications, especially for our community’s most vulnerable children.

With the months-long summer breaks that many students in the United States enjoy, the summer months are a long stretch of time where children can either be actively engaging in learning, or not. This is different than the school year, when all children are expected to be learning both in school and through school-based extracurricular activities.

Thanks to research from the academic community, we know most students lose some academic skills during school breaks. However, in the summertime, opportunities for children from working-class families and single parent homes become less abundant. Only 4 percent of American schools operate year-round and child care and paid summer enrichment programs can be prohibitively expensive for most families. As a result, demand for free programs is so high that it is often impossible for such programs to accommodate all who seek enrollment. Those children who do not secure a spot in an affordable program are at higher risk for deeper skills loss than their more economically advantaged peers.

This reality facing low-income families is part of the reason we partner with the Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC). At Christina Seix Academy all of our students live in households headed by a single caregiver and demonstrate economic need. Children from similar circumstances, demographically speaking, are those who stand to potentially lose the greatest amount of academic skills during summertime.

By combining the Academy’s nearly year-round school schedule and PBC’s award-winning Summer Bridge Program, our students have an equitable opportunity to participate in the same kinds of summer enrichment enjoyed by children of middle and upper-income families. The difference is that — thanks to PBC’s efforts to secure grants and financial support from individual donors — students can enjoy this opportunity without incurring costs for themselves or their families. Our students are thriving academically and socially due to the year-round engagement in quality enrichment activities.

Through outdoor experiential education, along with S.T.E.A.M. and literacy instruction, the PBC curriculum is designed to engage all types of learners in hands-on lessons that inspire and encourage kids to try new things, take healthy risks, and grow academically and personally. This unique program — and the opportunity it offers young people — is something worth recognizing and celebrating. Christina Seix Academy is honored to partner with PBC for its Summer Bridge Program and grateful to the many donors who make it possible for our students to attend.

Our students are thriving academically and socially due to the care and commitment consistent, year-round engagement in quality enrichment activities.

Rob Connor

Head of School, Christina Seix Academy, Trenton

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