Reaching for The Stars and Expanding Horizons
Reaching for The Stars and Maple Street’s version, Expanding Horizons, are enrichment programs which run every Friday for six weeks every spring. The program exists on the generosity of talented Hopkinton parents and community members and has grown in participation through the years. In fact, RFTS is essentially an extended school day for six Fridays every spring.
The current program coordinator for HMS’s program is Erin Crawford and you can contact her via email by clicking here.
We are always in need of volunteers. Please contact Arlene if you are interested or even curious! Here’s more info:
Who are we?
A Brief History
Eleven years ago, at the request of her kindergartener Colby, Harold Martin School (HMS) parent Shannan Tawney met with Principal Bill Carozza and Superintendent Dick Ayers to talk about starting a Science Club at Harold Martin. Dr. Ayers and Mr. Carozza saw it as a potential pilot for a more extensive enrichment program.
With their guidance and support – and after speaking with several fellow parents with similar desires – Shannan decided to start a pilot enrichment program, which she called. In it she helped kids explore a variety of science topics: some topics she researched and taught herself, and for some she recruited experts from within the community.
Due to healthy demand, she offered Science Club twice during the 2001-02 school year. About 30 kids were included in each session, and there was a waiting list each time.
Based on the success of Science Club, Shannan and Bill formed a committee of advisors from active, involved parents from the HMS Parent Advisory Council (PAC), Hopkinton PTA and other organizations, in the spring of 2002.
The following year, the Advisory Committee decided to offer and run 4 classes: Art and Artists, Language and Culture, Science, and Thinking Games. Child care was offered to volunteers with younger children. Each class ran for two, 5 week sessions following the Holiday and Winter Breaks. That year, sixty five students participated in Reaching for the Stars.
In the spring of 2003, Jeff Eitreim, having signed his son up for an introduction to musical instruments class that was cancelled for lack of interest, began a dialogue with the Concord Community Music School (CCMS) and Principal Carozza. If Hopkinton could come up with enough community interest, would CCMS be willing to offer this class at HMS? They would, and thus began a partnership between CCMS and HMS. Hopkinton resident Heather Oberheim offered the first HMS Music and Movement class in the fall of 2002, and again in March 2003.
In addition, for the 2003-4 school year, Reaching for the Stars offered a total of 7 enrichment classes, beginning the first Friday after Winter Break and running for 6 weeks. To the original 4 classes, 3 were added: Nature and Tracking, Kitchen Kids, and How Things Work. Art & Artists and Science Club were largely unchanged, but Language and Culture became Spanish, and Thinking Games became Chess Club. Nearly 130 students participate, and most classes were quite full. By now, our staff consisted of nearly 30 parent volunteers, plus a high school student. Heather Oberheim once again offered Music and Movement as a CCMS extension offering.
Late in 2004, some parent instigators approached Maple Street School (MSS) Principal Michael Bessette about starting an after school enrichment program there. The program was dubbed Expanding Horizons.
For 2004-5, Reaching for the Stars offered 10 classes during the six Fridays following Winter Break. Over 150 kids participated. Spanish class and Chess Club were dropped, and Fit Kids, Legal Eagles, Sew-a-Bear, Kid Lit and Kid Sign were added. The able volunteer staff expanded to 40 or so.
Also for 2004-5, Expanding Horizons kicked off at Maple Street with 4 classes: Young Investigators (run by none other than Principal Bessette), Engineering Adventures, Fit Kids, and Mock Trial. The program ran roughly concurrently with Reaching for the Stars – 6 Mondays after Winter Break – with the exception of Mock Trial, which began in early January. It was a big hit, with over 40 kids participating in the first year. Volunteers numbered 16 or so, most of them seasoned veterans from Reaching for the Stars.
In 2005-6, we offered 7 classes in Expanding Horizons’ second year, with capacity for 85 kids. To the original 4, we added For the Love of Art, Green Thumbs, Maple Street Monitor, and Talking Hands. Engineering Adventures has become Ancient Mysteries, and Crime Scene Investigators has been replaced by Phantoms of the Deep.
The program has continued ever since with an average of 10 courses offered and more than 100 students participating. If you are interested in volunteering for this year’s program, please contact Arlene McGrath. Thank you for your interest!