Summer Fun and Family Engagement for Milford Students

Milford NH SAUWe all realize the importance of parent involvement in special education but how do you make that happen – especially during extended school year (ESY).

Well this year Milford School District Special Education Director Johanna Johnson and her staff found a creative way to increase parent involvement in her district’s ESY programming.

As part of the ESY program’s curriculum, the district created the Summer Challenge.  These are structured activities designed to help parents support what their children were learning in the ESY program. Every Monday parents are encouraged to sign in to the Summer Challenge website and discover their new “weekly challenge” which includes a visit to a free local site. Each activity is outlined on the website and contains insightful questions, as well as some math and vocabulary activities. After completing the challenge, families need to document their experiences. Students can use creative ways (such an essay, a story, a poem, a video, a recording, photos, or artwork) to report about their challenge.  The best part – all those who participate will be entered into a drawing for an iPad at the end of the program!

Some of the places included in the Summer Challenge this year are the Milford Historical Tour, the town library, the farmers’ market, fish hatchery, conservation trails and the Harriet Wilson Memorial, built for a local historical figure.

Here are some comments from families participating in the program:

  • “DJ is working hard on each and every challenge. The first week’s challenge has been his favorite and he retained so much of Milford’s history. I even learned a few new facts about Milford”
  • “I try to make learning fun for Jake on our adventures and he really enjoyed our little field trip. I think this is a great opportunity for kids to get out with their parents and share in the learning experience”

NH Connections is working with Johanna to build systems to improve and support family-school partnerships in special education and we are happy to share this promising practice.  Why not try something like this in your town?  So much fun and lots of learning! Cheers for the Milford School District. Maybe they have started a trend!