summreslamart-1RBR students draw their partners’ portraits during a special art session with the Community YMCA’s Holly Haines during the special speakers’ visit in Summer Slam, an RBR freshman transitional program.  (Click to enlarge)

RBR Community Information Officer

During one day in July, rising Red Bank Regional (RBR) freshmen were running relays across the cafeteria floor, and dropping for push-ups in a mini-version of boot camp.  The next period they were team-drawing a pictorial class story. Students also participated in experimentation with percussion instruments creating a short acoustical symphony. Fun turned to social awareness as they learned about environmental advocacy and the mission to help feed the less fortunate with dignity at Soul Kitchen, the Red Bank Community restaurant.

These programs were all part of a special day of guest visitors who shared their skills and knowledge with Red Bank Regional’s Summer Slam, a freshman transition program which is operated by The SOURCE, RBR’s School-based Youth Services Program.

summerslamenviron-1Tom Matulewicz of Rutgers Cooperative Extension explains the benefits of composting to RBR Summer Slam students.  The students also learned about genetic engineered seeds and the process of fracking, and their potential effects on our health and environment.  (Click to enlarge)

SOURCE Supervisor Suzanne Keller comments, “Summer Slam is primarily an academic program to prepare our kids for the rigors of high school and bridge the skill slide that research shows occurs during school vacations. But we try to infuse academics with things that the kids don’t do every day, to make the program more interesting and fun.”

The students benefit from The SOURCE’s many community partnerships. They were introduced to the Teen Outreach Program (TOP™), offered by the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium (CJFHC), which some students may continue participation in during their freshman year. The Community YMCA sent their teachers to conduct some of their most popular programs to the Summer Slam Speakers’ Bureau Day.

While kids were ebullient over learning how to turn musical notes into sound, they were equally interested in ways to improve or safeguard the environment through composting and awareness of controversial practices such as fracking and genetically modified seeds.

The regular lessons during the four-day a week, July morning program gave students a taste of how learning could be a joy and not a drudge.  Students in Mr. DeBarberie’s  English classes, not only read and wrote poetry, but created and raced their own cars for a class ice breaker to better acquaint themselves with one another, which also aids in their transition.  Kristine Fincks’ science classes viewed the famous Seinfeld clip of Double Dipping, where a character complains to George that “double dipping his chip into a dip is like ‘putting your whole mouth in the dip.” The students then attempted to test that theory by creating their own “lab” cultures with chips and salsa and voluntary mouth swaps.

Science and math lessons also intersected where an experiment was conducted in science and Julius Clark’s math students then grafted the results using cool graphing calculators, which really captured the kids’ interest. Students also got a leg up on the fall program in Alyssa Guderian’s social studies class by previewing the challenging Animal Farm, a parody for the Russian Revolution, which they encounter in their Global Studies freshman course.

They also left the classroom for a stimulating visit to the Liberty Arts Center, along with other RBR summer campers who share their busy high school building each summer. They include students engaged in pre-AP (Advanced Placement) and International Baccalaureate classes and workshops in the AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) program, as well as enrichment special education programs. The aforementioned programs along with Summer Slam are funded primarily by state or federal grant money (RBR is one of very few schools that operates a traditional summer school, which is open to students outside of RBR on a tuition-basis).

RBR also offers a five-week visual and performing arts camp for grades 5 through nine (on a tuition basis), which culminated on August 8 in a musical performance of Kamp Kaos in the school auditorium.