The "School Without Walls" program was developed by Easter Seals in response to a specific request by parents of students with disabilities who were required to attend a 30 day Summer School program, depriving them from enjoying regular summer activities. The program piloted in 1999, and co-located at our Camp Colonie day camp. The "School Without Walls" program is the first and only program of its kind in New York. It permits Easter Seals New York to work with area school districts, and to serve students with disabilities in a day camp setting with their typically developing peers.
This innovative program provides students withh the required Summer School credits within the parameters of their IEPs and treatment in a fun, outdoor, camp-like setting, as well as transportation, to and from home. The program also provides the parents or other caregivers much needed respite. To date, the "School Without Walls" is the State Department of Education certified school of its kind in New York.
Above all, the program gives students with disabilities, who are typically required to spend most of their summer indoors at summer school, an opportunity to enjoy typical summer activities with others. What makes the program exciting is that the the students report that they do not see the program as "school", but rather as "camp", and that the educational activities are structured and shared in a manner that makes "school" fun.
Dr. Olive Foster, Assistant Administrator for Student Support Services, Niskayuna Central School District.
Mother of Student and Camper.
For more information on the "School Without Walls", please contact the camp's director, Mitch Hahn (518-222-3932).