Beating the summer slide by maximizing physical and mental health


There are tons of great charter schools in New York and Connecticut going above and beyond for their students. This means staving off the summer slide, either with an extended year or a robust program to keep their students engaged in these summer months. Kids at Invictus Preparatory Charter School in Brooklyn beat the summer slide with an excellent program that kept them active both physically and mentally.

For kids attending Invictus Preparatory Charter School in Brooklyn, summer has been a time for students to expand their horizons both inside the classroom and out. Through a collaboration with the Italian American Civil Rights League (IACRL), the school’s summer program was held under the theme of "A Better Me" and focused on maximizing mental and physical health. It included academics, field trips and key relationship building to build up the students’ academics and the school’s culture.

“Having a summer program has definitely staved off the summer slide, which often means that kids simply get out of the habit of getting dressed in the morning and finding something productive to do,” said Christine Johnson, Marketing & Development Manager at Invictus Prep.

She continued, “Our summer program keeps kids excited to show up to school, learn something new and have fun with friends. Kids remain invested in what it is that we are providing them with: opportunities to grow and have a good time doing it.”


50 of the school’s students were enrolled in the month-long program. The academic portion of the program focused on an exploration of the human anatomy, with students learning more about how systems like the cardiovascular and nervous system function. Students even did physical activity to activate the systems, like doing yoga and breathing techniques for mediation when learning about the respiratory system. The classroom-based aspect of the program also allowed kids to work collaboratively as they were researching the different systems.

Johnson said, “What makes the program unique is that we are finding ways to implement these academic lessons in ways that will physically benefit the kids' lives, like providing nutrition lessons and teaching them how to prepare healthy snacks.”


The program also includes an element called “The Reflection Pool,” designed to promote positive self-esteem and strong mental health. Each week the students would focus on a different core value under the concept of IMAGE:

  • I - Integrity
  • M - Morals & Modesty
  • A - Attitude & Action
  • G - Generosity
  • E - Excellence 

IMAGE allows students to get involved in different ways. For example, when the students reached Generosity, they volunteered their time to clean the school grounds and cafeteria.


The kids also took trips all over the city. They saw a New York Liberty game at Madison Square Garden, visited the Body Works Exhibition, and went to the Sky Zone trampoline park for some fun physical activity. They also went to the High Line in Manhattan for a photo scavenger hunt. On their walk, they used their pedometers to monitor their steps and heart rate, and then they did a flash mob!

Having a school that works overtime like this helps get children more active and engaged with their learning, and makes school something to really look forward to.


Johnson described the benefits, saying, “Personal connections with educators are a huge factor in academic achievement. It's important to us at Invictus Prep to build a culture of trust. Because we are so committed to seeing our students succeed academically, we never miss opportunities to deepen our relationships with students. 

“If we continue to care for our students and build upon our relationships with them through the summer, it communicates that we are here for them all the time, and our commitment to them is genuine and personal.” 

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Students at this Brooklyn charter school beat the summer slide by staying active physically and mentally
Beating the summer slide by maximizing physical and mental health
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