Patriot Academy Begins at Eagle View Elementary School in Breezy Point – Pine and Lakes Echo Journal

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BREEZY POINT – With the start of a new school year comes a new program for youngsters at Eagle View Elementary School called Patriot Academy.

Patriot Academy is not quite early childhood family education, nor kindergarten. Rather, it aims to bridge the gap between the two for families who feel their children need something different.

“It was developed to meet the needs of children who may have summer birthdays and families are hesitant to send them to kindergarten,” said Patriot Academy teacher Jamie Mellin. “Our early years programs do such a good job of laying those foundations, and Patriot Academy is kind of the bridge between the early years and kindergarten programs.”

Unlike early childhood classes — where children are in the building for four half days or two full days each week — the 11 young students enrolled at Patriot Academy attend five full days a week, giving them an idea of what school really is.

Our early years programs do such a great job of laying those foundations, and Patriot Academy is kind of the bridge between the early years and kindergarten programs.

Jamie Mellin, teacher at Patriot Academy

“They are given the structure of a regular, full school week, and we follow the regular school calendar,” Mellin said. “It differs from kindergarten in that I have a curriculum that I follow, but I don’t have to follow the rigor and pace of kindergarten. We also focus daily on social-emotional learning. Kindergarten incorporates this as well, but we do it a little more intentionally.

Mellin has worked in a special education position at Eagle view for the past few years and is licensed in Kindergarten through 6th grade.

“I’m very interested in early learning and early intervention, so (principal Melissa Hesch) approached me about it,” Mellin said. “It’s been going really well so far. We focused on building relationships with me as a teacher, then with the students in the classroom, and then we started integrating our routines, our procedures and the way we do things in the room.

… The majority of the response from parents is that they are so happy this program exists.

Jamie Mellin, teacher at Patriot Academy

Hesch and his team had studied this type of “gateway” program for a few years, and Superintendent Kurt Stumpf’s former school district — Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton — had implemented a similar program that yielded positive results.

Only a few weeks into the life of the program, Mellin and the school district are already seeing some of that positivity.

“We’re starting our school year where parents have one-on-one conferences with me for the first two days, and the majority of the response from parents is that they’re so happy this program exists,” Mellin said. “They were struggling to make the decision to send their child to kindergarten or have them do another year of early childhood.”

Due to the response, the likelihood of the program continuing to be part of education at Pequot Lakes seems quite high.

“The goal is to build on the early childhood skills that the kids learned,” Mellin said, “and then really give them a good foundation to start kindergarten next year.”

Dan Determan, Sports Writer/Editor, can be reached at 218-855-5879 or

[email protected]

. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at

www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan

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