Dear G.C. Hartman Elementary Families

As we enter the summer of 2021, I’d like to first thank everyone that helped our students achieve so much success during the 2020 – 2021 school year.  The efforts of our staff along with the Southern Columbia parents and community made this school year a successful experience for our children.

It is time now for everyone to enjoy the summer months.  Please enjoy some time away from school with your families.  The new school year will be upon us soon.  In the meantime, enjoy the summer.

During the summer, the G.C. Hartman Office will be open daily from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm Monday through Thursday and 8:00 – 12:00 on Friday.  If I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at 570-356-3251 or via email at

Although we had a great school year, we need to continue our commitment to our children during the summer break to help them keep their skills fresh. This means that we must work together to prevent the “summer slide”. The summer slide refers to the summer months when students “forget” what they have learned in school. Parents, as you spend time with your children during this summer, a few ideas are listed below to help keep your child’s academics fresh.

Summer Reading

“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” For a child who’s still mastering reading skills, summer can erode progress made during the school year.  In addition to reading with your child every day, another idea is to listen to audio books during family car trips.

Summer Writing

Encourage your child to keep a summer journal of family trips, day camps, and other summer adventures. Have your child vary their writings with short and long entries, illustrations, word collages, and photos with handwritten captions. Sidewalk chalk is another way to work on writing skills. Have your child practice letters, words, and sentences on the driveway. When you’re outside or at the beach, encourage your child to write in the dirt or sand with a stick.

Science and Physical Activity

Along with sporting activities, summer days are a great time to get outside, where your child can experience nature firsthand by watching a caterpillar, chasing butterflies, or searching for birds’ nests.  Take a walk or hike a nearby trail and point out different wildlife and vegetation.  Explain what animals eat, whether they’re nocturnal or diurnal (sneak in those big word when you can), and how plants “eat” sunlight.   During quiet time, slip science into your child’s nightly reading. You can also do fun activities by teaching them what a pulse is and how to take it, use a magnet to find the iron in cereal, etc.

Summer Math

Play number games here, there, and everywhere.  In the car, be creative with addition and subtraction drills. Less fun but extremely valuable: Take advantage of your captive audience by quizzing her/him on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division math facts, starting from easiest (1’s and 2’s) and working up to the hardest (8’s and 9’s). On your smartphone, download free math apps. Your child can play these while waiting in line or on a drive.  At home, do puzzles and play games as a family. Jigsaw puzzles help children with spatial awareness. Have your child be the banker in Life or Monopoly Junior to sharpen money and math skills. Let your child play with the money in your wallet or the family change jar. Have them sort the different coins and bills into groups. Play “bank” by swapping twenty-five pennies for a quarter, or four quarters for a dollar. Invite your child to go to the bank with you to redeem change for cash. Mix a little math into your summertime cooking projects. Have your child add the ingredients as you go, while you explain they are adding “a half cup” or “a teaspoon”. Just hearing these terms and seeing them in use will give kids basic mathematic understanding, and following a recipe helps kids learn sequencing.

I again want to thank our staff, parents and community members for partnering with us this year. We look forward to a continued partnership devoted to the success of our students.

Have a grrrr-eat summer and Go Tigers!

John C. Fetterman