When you think of the summertime and young people — during normal times, that is — there’s the sleeping late, maybe working a part-time job, seeing friends, extra video games, etc. It’s not often school plays a role, though.

But — no kidding — these are nowhere near ordinary times and after nearly two academic years of interrupted learning and using computer screens in lieu of actual classrooms, the powers-the-be in the Harrison School District knew something had to give to ensure students of all ages didn’t fall behind.

So this summer, the district is hosting a variety of programs for students from the youngest and newest to those preparing to head off to college or the workforce next year.

We’ll start with the youngest, at Kennedy Elementary School, where there’s a preschool-transition program with over 100 little ones who are attending kindergarten in the fall, their first-ever school experience. s

First- through fifth-graders are attending the Summer Enrichment Program, which is focused on interventions to assist all students who need additional support with their academics.

Washington Middle School is offering a credit-recovery program to assist students in staying on track with their education and a Summer Enrichment Program focusing on project-based learning which includes arts and crafts, mural painting, woodworking, a history project, bridge building and website creation.

“Our Summer Enrichment Program marks another positive step forward on the road to normalcy. It’s great to see our students and staff interacting socially via the creative project based learning classes our teachers have created,” Washington Middle School Principal Michael Landy said. “The programs are innovative, creative and most importantly, hands-on. Our students even enjoyed an adventurous field trip.”

Harrison High School, meanwhile, is also offering a credit-recovery program for 150 students to stay on track with their education, as well as a Summer Enrichment Program for culinary, STEM, music, financial literacy, ESL and SAT Prep.

The district is also providing an extended school year program for 80 special education students in grades pre-K to 12, who attend four days a week.

“We feel that we have addressed many of the needs of our students through the variety of programs that we have offered this summer,” Maureen Kroog, Harrison’s acting superintendent of schools, said. “As we return to in-person instruction in the fall, we are confident that the summer programs will have enhanced the students’ educational experience.”

Perhaps the entire summer-learning program was best summed up by Nicole Morales, 11, an rising sixth-grader.

“I’m a little shy, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to sign up for the summer program,” she said. “But I’m happy I did — I made friends and worked on cool projects, like painting murals on the music room walls and making colorful magnet designs. It was so much fun!”

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.