Program extends learning beyond school week


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com |

While five days of school may seem sufficient to students, the faculty of SchoolPlus, a weekend academic program, believes more is better.

SchoolPlus, which holds sessions on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., encourages students to explore new areas of knowledge and broaden their horizons, while also enhancing children’s classroom performance by supplementing a basic school curriculum.

The program opened its first Queens branch at P.S. 101, located at 2 Russell Place in Forest Hills, on October 16. Seventy children, ranging from pre-kindergarten to 8th grade, attended the inaugural day of classes.

“I am thrilled to start a program like SchoolPlus in Queens,” said Emilia Kister, director of SchoolPlus Queens and a recipient of the 2011 Yale School of Music Distinguished Music Teacher Award. “As a parent myself, I saw a real need for this type of enrichment in our neighborhood. I look forward to working closely with families in the community to provide further enrichment for our children.”

SchoolPlus offers lessons in a wide array of subjects, including math, English, chess, art, Russian and music. The program also offers “Mommy and Me” classes in art and music for children between the ages of two and three.

“I founded SchoolPlus 15 years ago with 35 students in one location,” said Dr. Olga Fookson, the founding director of SchoolPlus. “The program reached out to those who were looking to learn beyond the classroom, whether it was math, language, art or chess. Today, we have more than 1,200 students of all backgrounds in 14 locations in the New Jersey and New York area. To me, these numbers speak for themselves.”