A Closer Look at the Janus Summer Programs

By Jonathan Back, Dean of Students

Our Summer Academic Program is designed to serve the needs students new to The Janus School and those who are a part of the Core Academic Program through the school year. This year’s program will be centered on a place based science curriculum in order to augment the experiential learning opportunities that are grounded within our everyday approach to instruction (see previous blog).

During the summer students, grades, 1-8, are grouped according to their ability level and age. Typically, three to four groups that have six to eight students participate in language arts, math, socialization/study skills, and science classes. These groupings are fluid, as needed, to meet the demonstrated needs of each student. In addition, all students have individualized and small group tutorial sessions to further advance the diagnostic and retention purposes of this program.

At the end of this program parents receive a narrative report that details the activities their child experienced in their classes and generalized observations regarding how their child participated in each of them. This report also includes a chart that details demonstrated areas of strength, need, and possible future recommendations as noted by each of their instructors. The Neurodevelopmental Model is used to assess student abilities and each child is encouraged to reach a deeper understanding of strategies they can use to advance their academic abilities and understanding of their own learning style. Also included in this report for students that are not a part of the Core Academic Program is a scoring summary for all of the standardized skill based assessments they were given to provide a snapshot of their current ability levels. The following is a list of assessments that are given by our counselor, tutors, reading specialists, speech and language pathologists and occupational therapists.

  • Woodcock Reading Mastery Test- R
  • Diagnostic Achievement Battery-3
  • Gray Oral Reading Test, Fifth Edition
  • Gates-MacGinite Reading Test-4
  • Stanford Diagnostic Mathematics Test, Fourth Edition
  • Key Math-3
  • The Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition
  • Language Processing Test -3
  • Comprehensive Receptive and Expressive Vocabulary Test-2
  • Test of Auditory Processing Skills -3
  • Oral and Written Language Scales II
  • Bruinick’s-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Second Edition

It is important to note that not all of these assessments are given to each child, but are chosen to gain a deeper understanding of a students learning profile as demonstrated by their age, ability level, or a demonstrated area of need.

We are excited to incorporate a place based science curriculum into this summer’s Academic Program. The focus of helping student reach a deeper appreciation for the environment in which they live provides us the opportunity to develop more experiential learning activities that are such an integral part of the Janus experience. Leveled readings, writing projects, mathematical problem solving, and team based learning activities will be centered on this science theme. Students will visit Chiques Creek, regularly to conduct water studies and participate in other outdoor activities designed to enrich the learning they experience in the classroom. In addition, Frank Marsden from Eden Hill Nature Center, Kathy Woods from Phoenix Wildlife Center, and Zoo America will be visiting the school this summer to talk and present different aspects about Pennsylvania’s wildlife and habitat.

The links listed below provide more information regarding the effectiveness of place-based science curriculums, the Neurodevelopmental Model, and information regarding the assessments given during the summer.

Place-Based Education

“Look, Don’t Touch” from Orion Magazine

“Leave No Child Inside” from Orion Magazine

“Remembering the Roots of Place Meanings for Place-Based Outdoor Education”

“At the Crossroads: Situating Place-Based Art Education”


Neurodevelopmental Model

School Attuned Framework



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