After School an Enriching Time at Park Avenue

After School an Enriching Time at Park Avenue photo

Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School is the place to be in the afternoon, as the popular afterschool enrichment program has returned for the district’s fourth- through sixth-graders.

Principal Robyn Santiago said 236 students are taking part in the program, known as Park Avenue Clubs. Activities include art, dance, gaming, journalism, martial arts and robotics. There is also a character education program hosted in partnership with United North Amityville Youth Organization.

The robotics course, led by fifth-grade teacher James Replak, engages students through hands-on projects. The young engineers can build robots from Lego Mindstorm kits, or they can create their own from available pieces in boxes of spare Lego parts. Mr. Replak said that whether children choose to follow a plan or free build, they develop problem-solving and teamwork abilities.  

“They’re very engaged,” he said. “Many children like the freedom to create based on their imaginations. They also enjoy the opportunity to try something and improve upon it.”

The journalism course is led by former sports reporter John Boell. Students explore both news and creative writing, and learn how to generate story ideas. They are planning to publish their own newspaper before the end of the year. 

In the dance class, with teacher Amanda O’Connell, students learn basic dance moves and choreographed routines. During the holiday season, they performed for other students in the afterschool program and led an interactive dance activity. For February, students are putting together a routine for Park Avenue’s Black History Month celebration.  

Teacher Joanna Conboy leads the gaming class. Using the Skin in the Game curriculum, students learned the elements of board games by playing games with different styles, then creating their own. As the program progresses, students will then design video games, which will give them an introduction to computer programming.