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Rockville Centre joins Regional Summer School to improve student performance and broaden horizons

 Three girls wear tie-dyed shirts

Rockville Centre students (from left) Alaina DeMario, Catie Dolan and Megan Fay proudly display some of the crafts they made during the style studio class in Nassau BOCES Regional Summer School. They learned to create tie-dye shirts, head bands, fringe t-shirts, hair bows and bracelets.

This year, Rockville Centre school district joined the Nassau BOCES Regional Summer School (RSS) program, helping students to improve themselves in everything from core academics to the arts. Since its inception, the six-week summer program has grown to serve more than 17,000 students through 58 programs in 23 districts across the county.

The largest and perhaps most essential component of RSS is credit recovery, helping students who are struggling with core academics to make up what they were unable to complete during the school year. A key element of this is the intensive two-week Regents course, which prepares students to retake the Regents exam in August and improve their scores. With recent changes to the Regents designed to better reflect the common core curriculum, more students than ever are retaking the exam. This year more than 1,200 students are using RSS to prepare for the Common Core Algebra Regents.

“It’s extremely high stakes for these students,” RSS Principal Judith Hynes said of the importance of the program. “They cannot graduate without passing the Regents exam.” This is why, according to Hynes, they are fortunate to have the RSS staff. “We have a team of 1,000 dedicated professionals providing direct, hands-on support on a daily basis.”

In addition to critical academic support, RSS offers a full range of enrichment programs for younger students. There are classes in everything from reading, writing and science to sports, art and music. Adventurous students can explore a variety of interests including television production, cooking and gymnastics.

“It’s a little like summer camp, but educational,” Principal Hynes said of the enrichment program. There are important lessons involved in the fun, such as bullying prevention and good citizenship.”

“Nassau BOCES takes on the administrative burden and lessens the cost of summer programs, giving many districts the opportunity to offer a program they could not afford to offer on their own,” Ms. Hynes said of RSS as a whole. “We provide students the chance to improve their abilities, to succeed in academics, and to enjoy enrichment opportunities they normally wouldn’t have.”