It might be the dog days of summer, but learning continues within the Red Bank Regional High School (RBR) building during July and August. The school district operates numerous programs to give its students a leg up for September. These include Summer Slam, a freshman transition program, pre – AP (Advanced Placement) workshops for students in the AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) program, enrichment programs for ELL (English Language Learners) and special education students and workshops for AP and International Baccalaureate students. The aforementioned programs are funded by federal grant money. (The school is one of very few that also operates a traditional summer school and is also open to students outside of RBR on a tuition-basis.)
RBR also offers a five-week visual and performing arts camp for grades 5 through 9 (on a tuition basis), which culminates in a popular musical performance. This year The Little Mermaid, Jr. will be presented on Aug. 9. Sport camps and team practice continually utilize the school building and campus during July and August.
New to theprogramming this year is preparatory classes for students aspiring to the challenging International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.
RBR Principal Risa Clay explains, “With open access to the Advanced Placement and IB programs we needed to make sure we have the proper support for kids. For several years, we have offered a pre-AP program in math and English over the
summer, which has prepared some of our students for that high-level course
work. Our IB teachers asked us to offer similar support for the IB program. We
responded by adding pre-IB classes in writing and science.”
While IB English teacher Katie Blackwell works with her students in the media center with on-line programs to improve their writing skills, science teacher David
Hussey guides his students outside working the earth to create a fall vegetable
garden. When in the classroom, they measure their hydroponic plants, and test the nutrients in the hydroponic and outside soils. Simultaneous to their sowing seeds in the ground they are also germinating the skills to write research papers, a key element of the International Baccalaureate courses. An added benefit, this fall, the school’s culinary students will be able to harvest the fruit of their labors for special autumn dishes.
Summer Slam represents RBR’s largest summer program with student representation from all three sending school towns of Red Bank, Shrewsbury and Little Silver as well as other towns that send students to RBR’s signature four-year academies.
“The program grows with popularity each year,” states SOURCE Coordinator Suzanne Keller, adding, “For the first time we were over-subscribed with 110 students.”
The SOURCE, RBR’s School-based Youth Services Program, operates Summer Slam to better prepare incoming freshman for high school. The students receive enrichment in language arts, math, history and science. They also took a class trip to Liberty Science Center.
This year, a special day was added to the summer enrichment program, a departure from routine of the academic program so the students could make the connection of the body and spirit to the mind. RBR English teacher Erika Robinson was able to bring professionals from various fields to give a unique perspective on
physical and mental well being.
Motivational speaker Hans Hageman, talked to the students on proper nutrition and exercise as a way of empowering their body and mind, while his wife, the owner/operator of a NYC fitness club, took the students through challenging organic movement exercises. The students were also introduced to the benefits of yoga by Mary Reilly Nichols, a renowned yoga instructor in Manhattan.
RBR teacher Justin Biggs shared mindfulness techniques to help students
function in the moment to relieve anxieties. Spiritualist Wendy Rapp also helped
students become better acquainted with their spiritual nature. Rounding out the
body and mind experiential day, brother and sister karate instructors Alexis
and Doug Keller, from the Art Beins Karate School in Freehold, gave
students some basic lessons in karate and self defense.
Erika Robinson comments, “These presentations are about personal improvement. At this age, the students have not yet learned to control their emotions. These
presentations will help give them tools to do that. I hope they will become aware of what they don’t know-- that they have the courage, strength, compassion, potential and ability to focus to become truly educated people in the world.”