Summer Spark at Belmont Day July 12–August 6, 2021

Academic review and summer fun for rising first through sixth graders

Every parent wants their child to shine. Summer Spark will ignite each child’s confidence by reinforcing core reading, writing, and math skills to prepare them for the coming school year. Highly-trained, experienced, and caring Belmont Day School teachers will support each child’s unique learning needs and help them level-up through inspiring project-based activities that build foundational skills.

Why We Spark

Research suggests that summer learning loss, also known as summer slide, may inhibit a child’s success when they return to the classroom in the fall. Particularly this year, when many schools have been in either remote- or hybrid-learning modes, Summer Spark will provide academic review and enrichment that will prepare children to do their best work as a learner when they return to school.

Our expert faculty and learning support specialists are trained in Orton-Gillingham, Fundations, Singapore Math, and Connected Math and are ready to spark children’s growth and success.

How Your Child Will Spark

Small pods of five to eight students will make new friends, be challenged and supported in their learning, and have fun. A free swim period and outdoor games will be part of each day.

Our Program

A wide range of academic skills will be covered throughout the four-week program. The curriculum will be tailored to meet the needs of each learning group. Lessons will be designed to build confidence and resilience, and boost study habits and skills.

Elementary Grades

rising first to fifth grades

Teachers will provide systematic, sequential, and multisensory instruction in decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling). Instruction will also include writing, comprehension, and fluency. Math instruction will cover foundations, math facts, number sense, and integration of a variety of curricula including Everyday Math and Singapore Math.

Middle School

rising sixth grade

Teachers will provide instruction that supports reading comprehension and fluency and extends vocabulary. Math instruction will cover geometry, pre-algebra, and integration of a variety of curricula including Everyday Math and Singapore Math.

Our Faculty

Belmont Day School teachers and members of our learning support team.

Summer Spark Admissions:

  • Sarah Merrill is Belmont Day’s director of high school placement. She has over 20 years of experience in admissions, placement, and academic tutoring.

Summer Spark Coordinator:

  • Dr. Leesa Mercedes has been Belmont Day’s school psychologist since 2014. She works directly with students to support their social-emotional development, mentors and guides faculty, develops and teaches the school’s nationally recognized health and wellness curriculum, and provides parent education.

Teachers—rising first and second graders:

  • Betty Chu Pryor has thirteen years of experience in the kindergarten classroom at Belmont Day and is an expert at guiding children in building a strong foundation as learners. She is trained in Fundations and Singapore Math.
  • Evelyn Metta joined Belmont Day in 2020 as part of the Associate Teacher Program. She has worked in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms and has a special affinity for working with our youngest learners.

Teachers—rising third and fourth graders:

  • Ellie Brennan joined Belmont Day in 2017 as the lower school learning specialist. She has also been a special educator in public and private schools in Boston, Brookline, and Southborough, working with students with moderate to severe disabilities and learning differences.
  • Lindsay Fitzgerald joined Belmont Day in 2019 as part of the Associate Teacher Program. This year she has been a teaching assistant in fifth grade. Before joining BDS, Lindsay worked for several years as a science educator at the New England Aquarium.

Teachers—rising fifth and sixth graders:

  • Elinor Hannum is Belmont Day’s middle school math teacher and math department chair. She joined the faculty in 2019 after teaching middle and upper school math in Providence.
  • Vaniecia Skinner joined Belmont Day in 2020 as a fifth grade language arts and social studies teacher. She has several years of experience teaching middle school language arts and has served as a student service coordinator, building collaborative relationships with teachers and parents.

Need To Know


  • $3,500: 4-week onsite program
  • Monday, July 12 to Friday, August 6
  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Summer Spark is a fully in-person program and a remote option is not available.
  • A limited number of scholarships are available. Please contact Summer Spark Admissions Coordinator Sarah Merrill for more information at smerrill@belmontday.org.

Sparking Spaces

  • Summer Spark will utilize air-conditioned indoor classroom spaces in the Belmont Day Schoolhouse for class time and take advantage of our beautiful outdoor campus for games and swimming.

Health and Safety

  • Belmont Day’s COVID-19 safety protocols meet or exceed the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and CDC guidelines. Protocols include mask-wearing, physical distancing, use of plexiglass desk shields, and frequent handwashing breaks throughout the day. Learn more about our summer protocols here.
  • A full-time nurse is onsite in the summer to support the health and well-being of our campers and staff.

Snacks and Lunch

  • Belmont Day School is a nut-safe and allergy-prepared facility. Nothing we serve contains nuts or peanuts. We ask that you not include any items containing nuts or peanuts when preparing lunches.
  • Children should bring lunch from home each day, packed in an insulated bag with an ice pack, if necessary, as refrigeration is not available.
  • We provide: Morning snack and milk or water; Beverages (juice, milk, and water) at lunchtime; A frozen treat (popsicle, ice cream sandwich, or Italian ice) at the end of the day.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

  • Complete the online application and submit a teacher, and if appropriate, a learning support specialist recommendation and current report card.
  • The program admissions team will review each application.
  • Families of accepted students will be notified by email.


  • This year, many parents have gained first-hand knowledge of their children’s academic strengths and growth areas. The insight you provide on the program application will be very helpful to Summer Spark faculty.
  • Each student will receive a diagnostic assessment to determine where they are along the continuum of grade-level benchmarks before the first day of the program.


Sarah Merrill, Summer Spark Admissions

smerrill@belmontday.org • 617-932-3898