Our Mission:

Smooth Sailing is Shippensburg Area School District’s investment in our community’s need for a smooth transition into school for selected children who will be starting Kindergarten, and back to school for selected children who will be starting First Grade. Smooth Sailing’s goal is to provide foundational skills for selected incoming Kindergarten children and to provide targeted, data driven, intervention to children starting the First Grade school year.


Goals for Shippensburg Area School District Foundation’s Smooth Sailing program include:

  • To offer a free, week-long supplemental transition program into the school year for qualifying children in Kindergarten and First Grade enrolled in the Shippensburg Area School District, including bus transportation. The program will run 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Monday – Friday, two weeks prior to the start of the school year.
  • To create an early intervention approach for children in need of extra support. This will allow their teachers to have targeted data for children in the beginning of the school year.
  • To help create a better transition into the upcoming school year for all attending children in Kindergarten and First Grade.
  • To provide the incoming Kindergarten children with foundational skills, classroom routines, and general school expectations.
  • To provide the incoming First Grade children with targeted/explicit instruction based upon academic needs that are reflected in their end-of-year Kindergarten assessments.
  • To use Shippensburg Area School District elementary school’s computer laboratory, in addition to technology resources purchased with EITC funds, including iPads and Kindles, to provide interactive early childhood technological experiences.
  • To supplement Shippensburg Area School District children enrolled in Smooth Sailing as they gain access to cutting edge technology experiences to strengthen core skills application.
  • To support children as they gain exposure to foundational skills in literacy and school readiness.
  • To incorporate standards-based reading, writing, and technology criteria within Smooth Sailing stations.
  • To share outcomes of the Smooth Sailing program with the Shippensburg Area School District Foundation, parents, and the community.

Program Structure:

Smooth Sailing is a week-long program running prior to the start of the school year at one of the two elementary schools, which will alternate each year. Children will arrive at 8:30 a.m. and leave at 12:00 p.m. Healthy snacks will be provided to the children during the program. Once children arrive at 8:30 a.m., they will be separated into their respective grade levels, and then rotate through various stations.

For upcoming Kindergarten children, they will be divided into 4 groups, with a 14-1, child-teacher ratio. Each group will be made up of a focus skill and a supplemental skill. Teachers will be allotted a 50-minute window of time. Considering the activity will change on a daily basis, the teacher’s discretion will be used as to how the time will be allotted to accomplish both skills. It is required for both skills to be purposefully taught and practiced during that time frame.

The groups will rotate through stations that focus on the alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, name writing, school readiness, fine motor skills, and becoming familiar with the use of iPads/Kindles.

Alphabetic Principle/Story Time/Snack

Phonemic Awareness/Kindergarten Routines

School Readiness (emphasis on fine motor skills, and name writing)

Word Work/iPad/Kindle Lab


Phonemic Awareness/Story Time/Snack


Guided Reading/iPad Lab


Smooth Sailing was created by Shippensburg Area School District teachers:

Grace Hockenberry, First-grade Teacher, Shippensburg Area School District and

Greg Herb, Reading Specialist, Shippensburg Area School District

Smooth Sailing is funded by the Shippensburg Area School District Foundation’s EITC program.

Please direct your questions to:

Dr. Cheryl Slattery, SASD Foundation Board of Trustees Chairperson