The Lewisboro Parks and Recreation Department has quickly pulled together a study hall program called Lewisboro Learning Lot. Nicknamed “3Ls” and housed at the former Lewisboro Elementary School, it will provide children in grades two through five the opportunity to supplement virtual school classes at Increase Miller, Katonah and Meadow Pond elementary schools.
Michael Portnoy, the pool operator and recreation assistance, and Reed Pullem, the camp operator and recreation assistant, are the directors of 3Ls and will supervise the program. The program team also includes three class leaders who are recent graduates from education programs or have experience working with children.
Mr. Portnoy said the Parks and Recreation Department wanted to create a more affordable alternative to the many private options that have recently been offered for learning pods. The program fee is $60 per day per child.
Mr. Portnoy said the department was able to set up the program rapidly by leveraging its access to space in the former elementary school and to qualified and available staff needed to work in the program.
While at the Learning Lot, students will be able to join virtual classroom sessions and work on homework assignments. The daily hours will be 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The department discussed preliminary plans for the program during a town board meeting Aug. 17. Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Dana Mayclim mentioned during the meeting that the department was in the process of acquiring a day care license. She said the department received timely help from Kitley Covill, Westchester County legislator serving District 2, including the towns of Bedford, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge. Ms. Covill put the department in touch with Child Care Council of Westchester, which informed Parks and Rec that it did not need a day care license because the program will be held during school hours and will only focus on providing a study hall. Ms. Mayclim added that the process to receive a day care license would have taken months.
“We were very lucky for Kitley’s intervention and help in assisting with getting this off the ground,” Ms. Mayclim said.
The program’s start date is Monday, Sept. 14, with an end date of Friday, Dec. 18. Currently, only Lewisboro residents are eligible for 3Ls, but Ms. Mayclim said if there is room, they will open the program to Katonah-Lewisboro School District residents as well.
With utilizing the town’s space in LES, the gym and stage area, physical education office, hallway and bathroom, Ms. Mayclim said, the program can only accommodate a certain number of children.
Lewisboro Learning Lot’s schedule will coincide with KLSD’s cohort schedule: Cohort A will meet for 3Ls on Thursdays and Fridays; Cohort B will meet Mondays and Tuesdays; and the two cohorts will alternate Wednesdays. The cohorts will be split into smaller classes of no more than 12 students based on grade level and school area.
Ms. Pullem noted that based on these numbers, the program leaders are estimating they can serve 32 children per cohort and 64 children in total.
Mr. Portnoy said that there will be approximately three classes per cohort; since four different grade levels will be accommodated, grades will be slightly mixed among the classes. In addition, Mr. Portnoy said that the class leaders for Cohort A will also be the class leaders for Cohort B, following the lead of John Jay.
Cohort A is estimated to receive 30 days of supervision while Cohort B is estimated to receive 32 days of supervision. Ms. Mayclim said those totals reflect the way holidays are lining up during the period. As a result, Cohort A will be slightly less expensive of the two groups. The full fall session price for Cohort A is $1,800 per student and for Cohort B, $1,920 per student.
The Parks and Recreation Department noted it will adjust fees and schedules if necessary, based on changes in the school district’s plan.
Ms. Pullem said COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines will be followed by Lewisboro Learning Lot — including wearing face masks, 6-feet social distancing, regular handwashing and separated cohorts. In addition, Ms. Pullem said each student will be required to do a temperature check and health questionnaire each day before arriving to 3Ls. She said the template for the questionnaire is the same as the one used for the town’s Main Event Day Camp. That included questions asking if the child is experiencing symptoms and has been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.
After an initial announcement of the Lewisboro Learning Lot in a town communication on Aug. 28, Ms. Mayclim said the department received around 30 inquiries about the program. Registration for the program opened Wednesday, Sept. 2.
“We are excited about this,” Ms. Mayclim said. “In challenging times, we are pushed to limits we didn’t even know we were capable of.”