ESY students tasked to 'be your best you' this summer

More than ninety students worked on "being your best you" in Colonial School District's Extended School Year (ESY) program for 2021.

children playing hand drums in semicircle inside classroom


Established by federal special education law, ESY provides students an opportunity to continue practicing goal setting, motor and speech/language skills, socialization, and academics to help them not lose ground over the summer break. 

"This year we also had a few special things, including a Drum Circle and Field Day, to try to keep a summer camp feel while still working on academic tasks," said Dr. Cait Gilmartin, Colonial's Supervisor of Elementary Special Education.

Drum Circle

Professional musician Michael Clipman was a special guest at ESY this summer and led the Drum Circle, where the students participated in group and solo activities, as well as call and response.

"I liked everything about the drum circle!" exclaimed Fourth Grader Jordan King.

"I liked when we got to do our own thing," added Third Grader Reed Hyman.

"The Drum Circle promoted socialization and positive group dynamics, as well as rhythm, which is a great contributor to reading development," explained Dr. Gilmartin. 

Field Day

For Field Day, occupational and physical therapists, along with teachers and aides, designed a variety of fun activities where all students could participate. 

two three-person teams of children selecting water balloons and preparing to to throw


"The Field Day was my favorite activity that we did this summer," said Fifth Grader Torie Dunmore.

Stations included water games, an obstacle course, a treasure hunt, dancing, and parachute games.

"I liked the obstacle course with Ms. Monica and Ms. Nicole," said Third Grader Ky'leem Williams.

"My favorite thing was the treasure hunt, because I like to explore things," said Third Grader Aiden Monteleone.

In addition to offering a memorable culminating activity to celebrate another summer of ESY, Field Day also allowed students to practice physical, social, and teamwork skills they were developing throughout the ESY program, while providing positive social feedback to their peers.

Eligibility for the Extended School Year program is based on criteria that are monitored throughout the school year.

Help protect our school community from the spread of COVID-19

With school back in session and the majority of our students attending on-site, it was important to review a number of procedures/protocols related to our Health and Safety Plan so that we can all work together to protect our school community from the spread of COVID-19.

Please read on for reminders and new information related to symptom-monitoring, reporting of COVID-19 cases, and close contacts/quarantine guidelines.

Students and/or their parents/guardians are expected to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms on a daily basis.

Children should stay home when they have:

TWO of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Congestion/runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea


ONE of the following symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • New loss of taste or smell

Returning to school

Children who stay home may return to school based on the results of a COVID-19 test (please click here for an infographic with guidelines for a positive or negative COVID test result). If a symptomatic child is not tested, he/she may return to school with a note from the doctor indicating symptoms are as a result of a different diagnosis. Students who are not tested may also return if they have been without a fever for 24 hours, have symptom improvement, and 10 days have passed since symptoms appeared. 

Positive COVID-19 test results should be reported to the school.

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, we encourage you to share this information with your child’s school nurse. Your reporting of this information helps us to make better decisions around mitigation efforts. 

Close contact distinctions

In the classroom

Per recent county guidelines, a close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) of a child who is positive for COVID-19 does not have to quarantine if the close contact occurred in the classroom, both students were wearing masks correctly, and both students were three to six feet apart. 

on the bus

However, this does not carry over to students on a bus. Students who are close contacts to a positive on a bus must follow quarantine guidelines regardless of whether or not masks were being worn properly. This is a directive from the Montgomery County Office of Public Health based upon where spread is being observed. We understand this is frustrating but we must abide by the regulation. We want our kids in school.  

Remember, your attention to the guidelines helps keep the entire school community safe. We appreciate your cooperation because self-monitoring is an important part of our multi-layered Health and Safety plan.