SummerSlamStudents at Summer Slam, the month-long high school transition program for rising freshmen at RBR, participate in a hula-hoop dance courtesy of the Community YMCA.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

The phrase “lazy days of summer” does not apply to Red Bank Regional High School — at least in the mornings when the school is abuzz with various programs to maintain and sharpen student skills for September.

The largest program is Summer Slam, with over 90 students representing all sending towns of the regional school district.  This year marked Summer Slam’s 14th year of operation in preparing incoming freshmen for the very different world of high school. The program runs throughout the month of July, for four mornings a week. It is operated by the Source, RBR’s School-Based Youth Services program, and supervised by the Source Director Suzanne Keller. Ms. Keller is also the director of the RBR Freshman Academy, which provides continuity for the school’s newest students once they begin their high school careers.

Ms. Keller states of the program, “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. It is also a great opportunity for kids to meet their classmates from other towns, so they will know just a few more faces, including their teachers, when the doors officially open for their first year of high school.”

The school district also tries to make the transition fun by infusing the academics (which includes Math, English, Science and Global Studies) with special programming or events like this year’s trip to Constitution Center in Philadelphia and a special Speaker Bureau’s Day. This year’s Speaker’s Bureau day saw students in the lunch room balancing huge hula hoops around their waists in a dance guided by the Community YMCA’s Erica Andrex.

On the other side of the cafeteria, Chef Lou Morreale of JBJ’s Soul Community Kitchen demonstrated how to build a healthy, delicious meal using fresh garden vegetables. The Soul Kitchen’s Marylou Caputo discussed healthy food choices, and most importantly portion control.

The students were also encouraged to volunteer at the community restaurant where they could help serve, cook or tend the organic garden. In addition, students learned how to turn musical notes into sound, participated in a boot camp style workout and created placemats in art class which they generously donated to the Soul Kitchen to be utilized as place mats.

Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors were also busy in different classrooms of the school in the pre/AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) courses and a special IB writing program.  Here teachers emphasized the skills students need to enhance in order to be successful when taking the most rigorous classes the school has to offer.  IB in particular is very writing-intensive, so additional focus was given in a special morning writing program.

AP and IB Teachers offered a flexible summer program for their students who want to get a leg up on this coursework which moves at a quick pace during the school year. To accommodate teenagers who were engaged in summer jobs or other camps, teachers held classes at the high school in the evening.

RBR Principal Risa Clay states, “Each year we evaluate our academic results to analyze where we can utilize our summer resources to improve skills. This gives our students the necessary edge to increase success during the school year while challenging them to reach for loftier goals.”

This year, it was decided that seniors could benefit from a special program on the complicated college application process before the school year begins in order to reduce that added stress on these students. So a special program was planned at the end of July and early August. The RBR building is also host to a regular summer school program for credit make-up, and welcomes students from other school districts.  RBR’s special education students also attend an extended school year program with their teachers. Additionally, The RBR Academy of Visual & Performing Arts (VPA) offers a five-week VPA visual and performing musical performance camp. The camp’s culminating activity, the musical, Legally Blonde Jr., will be presented on Thursday, August 7, at 7 pm in the RBR auditorium.