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Campuses

Welcome to Julie Billiart Schools, a family of K-8 coeducational, independent day schools for children with learning differences.

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Saturday, June 05, 2021

The “Summer Slide” is real. And, despite what it sounds like (the awesome new ride at your local waterpark), it’s actually a genuine educational concern for all students, including those with special needs. As the final bell rings on the last day of school, most students (and, let’s be honest, parents and families) are looking forward to a three-month vacation full of chillaxing, sleeping in, and the absence of tests, quizzes and homework. It’s the welcome rest period that all of our brains need, but it presents a challenging fine line between recharging and regressing academically.

Research shows that students lose significant knowledge in reading and math over summer break, which doesn’t necessarily negate future progress, but can create a slower capacity for growth in subsequent school years. In fact, a recent study conducted by NWEA showed that students in 3rd to 5th grades lost an average of 20 percent of their school-year gains in reading and nearly 30 percent of their gains in math during summer break. For students with special needs, who thrive in the presence of daily routines and procedures to enhance their learning, the open-endedness of summer break can be especially precarious.

So, what can you do to make sure your child’s summer is full of learning instead of laziness slipping? Socializing instead of sleeping in? Promoting progress instead of dreading decline? Here are some ideas.

Plant a garden.

What better way to let your child take charge of his or her own sensory experiences, learn about science, and take responsibility for a living, breathing experiment that can last all summer and into the fall? Gardens can provide students with opportunities to read about what they’d like to plant - vegetables are perfect for the summer months - and ask questions that will keep their brains and their plants growing all summer long.

Go hiking.

Places like the Metroparks, the Zoo, and the Nature Gardens at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History are full of natural beauty, and opportunities to learn about everything from biology and physical science to history and math. They’re also filled with informational plaques and reading materials about everything from dirt to ducks to dinosaurs that can keep your child’s brain stimulated and his or her vocabulary budding like a fresh carnation. (PSST! That’s the state flower of Ohio.)

Read anything and everything!

In school, students have certain textbooks they have to read in order to ensure they’re making grade or instructional-level progress. Over the summer, encouraging your child to read what he or she wants to read will help them maintain their growth and prepare them for the year ahead. According to Scholastic, nearly 60 percent of children ages 6 to 17 say they love reading books for fun. Without the tests, quizzes and assignments that accompany most in-school reading, they may be thrilled to kick back and relax with some preferred summer pages. The Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Challenge is also a great way to rack up digital rewards, interact with book characters, and connect with authors for a satisfying social and academic experience.

Head to Cedar Point.

Even though it may be an overwhelming experience for those students with sensory and social anxiety, Cedar Point - voted Best Amusement Park in the World for 15 consecutive years - offers accommodations to guests with special needs that allows them to experience the park in a controlled and relaxed way. Patrons with autism can enroll in the Ride Boarding Pass Program, which provides pre-scheduled boarding times via the exit ramp for the most popular rides, and can help students learn to navigate social situations in out-of-school environments. The park also offers quiet, calming spaces in its first aid stations and family assistance building where you can rest and rally before your budding thrill-seeker is ready for more excitement!

Beyond Camp!

Of course, there’s no better place for students to strengthen their skills than JB’s very own Beyond Camp. The 2021 session will begin this July, and the 2022 session will begin accepting registrations early next year. Beyond Camp provides students with four weeks of fun, social activities that are specifically designed and data-driven to measure your child’s growth, development, and mastery of new skills. With more than 50 campers (grades pre-K-9) each year, Beyond Camp is the perfect environment for students with high-functioning autism, ADD/ADHD, and other learning differences who could benefit from social and academic reinforcement or help with a smooth transition between school years.

For more information on how Julie Billiart Schools encourages summer growth and learning, please contact our admissions team at admissions@jbschool.org.

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools has helped my child become a better version of himself. The teachers and therapists at JB really know and understand how to reach children who learn differently. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote All of the teachers and staff at JB are patient and willing to take the extra time to make sure we, as parents, understand and are comfortable. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools gave us hope after our daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability. At JB, she thrived in the small classes, received necessary therapies, and developed the self-confidence to ask for help when she needed it. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote They have all the resources necessary, specialized to the individual learning of each child, and the heart that goes with it. I don't think we would have stayed in Ohio if it wasn't for JB! close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words how grateful I am that you saw my daughter for all that she is today and all that she is yet to become. close-quote

Tammie Sommer

open-quote My kids love everything about JB and look forward to going to school every day and seeing their friends and teachers. JB is truly a one of a kind school enriching young lives everyday. close-quote

JB Parent

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