Although most see the summer months as a time to relax and get away from the classroom, some students are hard at work during the Intermediate Unit 17's extended school year program.
Linda Campman-Ruble, coordinator, said the program - which has been offered for more than 20 years - is available to students with an Individualized Education Program.
Instead of focusing on new material, Campman-Ruble said the program looks to help retain the skills students already learned the previous year. She said some students with IEPs will come back from a long break and will lose many of the things they've learned to do.
Brandon Bower and teacher's aide Tamie Myers limbo together during a dance and ice cream social for students in the summer education program through Intermediate Unit 17 on July 25 at Schick Elementary School.
"If they're going to lose their skills throughout the summer, that's why we do this," she said.
The IU 17's program serves nine school districts in Lycoming and Sullivan counties.
Students are broken up by disability and age group. Groups include elementary, middle, secondary and functional academics.
Campman-Ruble said it creates a better learning environment for the students if they all are working with the same disability.
Teachers and aides work with whole classes, as well as individual students' goals throughout the program's five weeks.
From math to reading, students work in classrooms to keep their skills sharp for the upcoming year of new material.
Campman-Ruble said the program gives the students the opportunity to continue most of their routines from the normal school year, which is important, since routine is very important to those with IEPs.
"The routine is extremely important," said Sandy Knipe, supervisor in training.
Students also continue to work with physical therapists, speech therapists and others to continue growth in all areas needed.
The program uses themes and special events to help students with the material and make real-life connections with the lessons.
The IU 17 also uses a stage house that helps students with life skills. Campman-Ruble said the students clean the house, make beds and do other household chores.
Campman-Ruble credits her staff for the success and growth of the program.
"We have a very dedicated staff. They come back year after year," she said.
She also mentioned that they receive a lot of help from college students who want to work in the field.
Campman-Ruble and Knipe said the program is great experience for them because they'll be exposed to so many different disabilities.
"You have all sorts of disabilities," Campman-Ruble said. "Some disabilities that you've never heard of."
The success of the program can be seen by how its grown. Campman-Ruble said in 2006 there about 60 students in it, but that has grown to more than 160 students this year.
"It's important because we need to maintain some status of learning," she said.