Beach Elementary students have a wide range of after school activities to choose from thanks to the Beach School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), school staff and a supportive community.
These learning experiences, cleverly disguised as fun, offer students enrichment activities in areas that range from swimming to art to reading and more. Begun last year as an effort to stimulate interest in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math areas, they have since expanded to meet student’s interests.
This year, there are 95 students or about 75% of the school who are participating in at least one after school club.
On Mondays, a Book Battle meets every other week. Book Battle is a district wide reading program. Students in 2nd-5th grades each read a number of books and then talk about the books and do activities related to each book. This is the first year that 2nd graders are members of the 18-strong group. In the spring, students will compete against other Lee County schools for the Book Battle title.
“We are really pleased with the participation in this program,” said PTO President and volunteer Kim West. “It really helps their reading levels and creates a reading culture with the expectation that they will read all the books.”
On Mondays and Wednesdays, Bay Oaks is working with students on their swimming skills. There is a Swim Club held on Friday’s, but some couldn’t swim the 2 full lengths required to participate and needed extra help, offered on Mondays and Wednesday afternoons. Thanks to Kiwanis and their help with paying for half the price of lessons, this extra help only costs the kids $20. As a result 46 students are developing better swim skills either through Swim Club or swim lessons.
“Thanks to Matt and Nathaly at Beach Pool, our students are making great progress,” said West. “We are moving closer to making sure that every child in our community knows how to swim well. We also hope someday to move from a swim club to a swim team.”
Tuesdays means Drama Club for 25 students and, with Coach Heather Ludovico and volunteer director Rick Sebastian, the 4th and 5th graders will put on the play, “Sleeping Beauty” in early 2017.
Wednesdays are LEGO days led by PTO volunteer Bret Randle. Interest has grown to the point where there are now 3 LEGO clubs with a total of 48 students involved. Each meeting, students build something new, picking up math, science, cooperation and fine motor skills along the way.
Art Teacher Holly Nichols offers an Art Club for 4th and 5th graders on Thursdays that has been so popular, it’s been expanded into two sessions so that 19 students can participate.
On Fridays, K-Kids, a service group for 5th graders associated with the Beach Kiwanis Club meets during lunch. Led by Coach Heather Ludovico and Counselor Nancy Omonte, the club, with 16 members, has already held a food drive and has plans for other efforts throughout the school year.
Additional clubs are under consideration, including Film Club and Fitness Club.
The Beach School PTO focuses on enriching the educational experience of Beach Elementary students. They are seeking individuals, businesses and organizations to sponsor enrichment projects like after school clubs, musical instruments, technology and classroom innovation grants.
The Putt Putt Pub Crawl on January 21, 2017 will benefit both the PTO and Youth Soccer and raffle items are being solicited now for an online auction. To donate an item or learn how to support the Beach School PTO, contact email@example.com or call Kim West 239-910-2918 or Ginger 239-707-8328. They can also be found on Facebook.
The beach community, both residents and visitors have always generously supported our island school. With the community’s help, they can continue to make a difference for Beach School students.