2010-01-14 / Front Page

CCLC after-school program is already making a difference

Instructor Thaddeus Freeman helps Amber McMunn work on her karate technique during the 21st Century after-school program at LCMS. A total of 130 students are participating in the initiative at LCES and LCMS. The learning centers are being funded by a federal grant of close to $1 million, which was awarded to Lincoln County Family Connection last September. Instructor Thaddeus Freeman helps Amber McMunn work on her karate technique during the 21st Century after-school program at LCMS. A total of 130 students are participating in the initiative at LCES and LCMS. The learning centers are being funded by a federal grant of close to $1 million, which was awarded to Lincoln County Family Connection last September. “My favorite activity in the afterschool program is Math CRCT (Criterion Referenced Competency Tests) with Mr. (Ken) Hayes,” stated Irisha Norman, a student at LCMS.

“I started in the program because I wasn’t doing so well in math. After three weeks, I started liking it and felt I was doing much better.”

Tyler Vaughn agreed: “In the after school program, I really enjoy Mr. Hayes’ math class. It has really helped me with my math. The class has boosted my grades. I hope it will put me on the A-B Honor Roll.”

Donna Woodall shows the students in the after-school program at LCES how to do the “Cupid Shuffle.” Dance is one of the many activities offered through the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) Program. Donna Woodall shows the students in the after-school program at LCES how to do the “Cupid Shuffle.” Dance is one of the many activities offered through the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) Program. One of the things middle schooler Zacchaeus Crite likes about the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) is the fact that he will be prepared because “you never know when someone might ask you who is on the county commission.”

“The after-school program is awesome,” exclaimed Tyavane Ross. “I love the Homework Help sessions. Thanks to Mrs. (Jackie) Wallace, I understand most of algebra, and Mrs. (Brenda) Willis helps me with vocabulary homework.

“Our karate teacher, Mr. (Thaddeus) Freeman is a cool guy, if you get to know him. Even though I take Tae Kwon Do, Shotokan Karate is very helpful.

“We also have a class called ‘Georgia on Your Mind.’ Mrs. (Naomi) Cobb teaches that. In that class, I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about Georgia.

“I don’t like to dance, but Mr. and Mrs. Woodall (Chip and Donna) have me dancing all the time.

“That’s why I like the program.” Amber McMunn, another student at LCMS, likewise gave the program high marks. “What I like about the 21st Century after-school program is that they help you in subjects that you are having a hard time in. They really help you understand what you are doing.

“But you have to pay attention,” she continued. “You also have to do what you’re told, and if you do, you get to have fun. We also dance and do karate.

“I love being in the after-school program.”

Another thread running through comments on the after-school program made by students at LCMS dealt with how much they enjoyed learning about cameras, computers, and broadcasting from Jake Shelby, a technology assistant for the school system.

The students were also fond of the snacks.

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers have been up and running, Monday through Thursday, at LCES and LCMS since November. The after-school program became a reality after Lincoln County Family Connection received close to $1 million in federal funds through the 21st CCLC Program last September.

Family Connection, in partnership with the Lincoln County School System, will receive $317,878 a year for three years for a total of $953,634, with the option of extending the program for another two years.

The after-school initiative, which targets students in grades K-8, has four goals:

(1) To improve the academic performance of all participants in core academic content areas through academic enrichment and enrichment that complements classroom instruction.

(2) To help children regain an interest in school.

(3) To increase adult involvement with youth through a platform of safe, structured, and supervised activities between the time school is out and parents return home from work.

(4) To involve youth in leadership, character education, and prevention workshops that promote healthy choices and strengthen the resolve of children to avoid risky behaviors.

In addition to the goals, the program has several measurable objectives:

.. Increasing the rate of LCES and LCMS students meeting or exceeding state standards on the CRCT in each core content area by two percent each year over the next three years.

.. Increasing the percentage of students graduating from high school on time from a four-year average of 75 percent (2004-2007) to a four-year average of 85 percent (2010-2013).

.. Reducing the number of arrests among youth, ages 13 to 16, by 15 percent.

Currently, there are 77 students enrolled in after-school learning activities at LCES, which begin at 2:40 and continue until 6 p.m.

As for LCMS, 53 students are involved in the program, which runs from 3:05 until 6:15 p.m.

The learning centers have the capacity to serve a total of 225 students.

To take part in the program, a student must be recommended by a teacher or another qualified staff member. Referrals are based on the child’s CRCT scores and his performance in core classes.

According to Meg Burg, the program coordinator for Family Connection, “Using the format of an after school program to develop a more diversified curriculum is the result of a collective effort on the part of the Lincoln County Board of Education and the school principals, advisors, teachers, and staff.”

She went on to say that the members of the after-school staff are what make the initiative successful. “These teachers and instructors care about the children and want them to excel in all aspects of life. We are grateful to these individuals for making the extra effort to invest their time and talents in our young people.

“I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to be a small part of such a wonderful program.”

In closing, Burg expressed her appreciation to all of the community partners for their support.

A list of the many activities being offered at LCES and LCMS through the after-school program is as follows:

.. Technology, with instructor Jake Shelby (both schools). The students at LCES are working with web-based programs that are fun and educational. One of these programs is Study Island, which allows students to practice their math and reading skills in accordance with the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS).

At LCMS, participants are learning about video equipment. At the end of the year, these students will present a short film advertising the new afterschool program.

.. Math Fun, with instructor Jackie Wallace (LCMS only). In addition to using web-based programs to study basic math skills, the students are receiving tutoring from one of Lincoln County’s finest retired math teachers.

.. CRCT Enhancement (both schools). These teachers, who are regular system employees, are funded by the local board of education. They are Ken Hayes, Becky Rice, Corliss Parks, JoAnn Gresham, Mildred Partridge, Marcella Goldman, Sharon Gonzalez, Jennifer Banks, and Julia Leverett.

.. Homework Help: During these sessions, students receive small-group tutoring to help them complete their daily homework assignments.

.. Georgia on Your Mind, with instructor Naomi Cobb (LCMS only). During this class, middle school students are learning all sorts of fascinating facts about their home state and county.

Since November, participants in the class have enjoyed seeing how many words they could construct from “Georgia” (one student got 17); familiarizing themselves with the state motto, the state bird, etc.; and comparing the population of Lincolnton and Lincoln County with that of five other cities and counties.

In her comments, Cobb said, “I truly consider it a privilege and an honor to be a part of the 21st Century after-school learning program, where learning can be and is fun!”

It was noted that this curriculum will be discontinued next month and replaced by a class, also taught by Cobb, titled “Lincoln County Mean Green Machine.” The new material will focus on current environmental issues as well as various ways of conserving energy.

.. Arts and Crafts, with instructor Riki Remsen (LCES only).

.. Fine Arts, with instructors Donna and Chip Woodall (both schools). During dance class, students are learning various choreographed dance routines, using different types of music and props. At the end of the school year, the singers and dancers will hold a recital, billed as “The Music in Me,” to show off their talents to family and friends.

“Participants in the program are doing everything from line dancing and clogging to hip-hop and jazz,” stated Mr. Woodall. “Since November, the students have completed four choreographed routines.”

According to Mrs. Woodall, “Many of our students have the gift of both song and dance. We are simply helping them discover those gifts and make others aware of them by encouraging them to perform with confidence.”

.. Shotokan Karate, with instructor Thaddeus Freeman (both schools). In this class, students are being taught basic karate skills and eventually, will have an opportunity to test for different levels of belts.

Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of this form of karate stated that the ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory or defeat but in perfection of character.

.. “Second Step” (LCES) and “Project Alert” (LCMS) with instructors Lindsey Dunn and Cathy McWhorter. These are fun-filled, interactive classes designed to teach students basic life skills.

.. “Learning for Life,” with instructors Cathy McWhorter (LCES) and Brenda Willis (LCMS). These classes are geared toward helping to prepare students to successfully handle the complexities of contemporary society and to enhance their self-confidence, motivation, and self-esteem through character and career education.

.. An Introduction to Girl Scouts, with leader Tasha Wilder. The afterschool scouting initiative offers learning programs that help build the students’ courage, confidence, and character.

Snacks for the children are provided each day by the federal “Feed a Kid Program,” under the direction of Ficklen Guin, assistant superintendent for nutrition and transportation for Lincoln County Schools.

The cost of transportation is included in the 21st CCLC grant. The bus drivers are board of education employees.

Among the additional staff working part time to ensure the after-school program is a success are Jennie McWhorter and Kelly Phillips, assistant site coordinators for LCES; Carol Norman and Susan Pilgrim, assistant site coordinators at LCMS; Haili Stevens; Yolanda Jackson; Brittany Barden; Eva Clary; Minnie Stokes; Robert Searles; Howie Gunby; Leverta Elam; Diann Sward; Billy Kirby; Melissa Durham; Traci Bussey; and Peggy Carruth.

The LCHS students serving as tutors at LCES and LCMS are Shalaura Dooley, Hannah Gallagher, Alisha Brown, BreAunna Gladmon, Austin Pruitt, Heather Furr, Cindy Juhasz, Jasmine Searles, Tiara Wynn, Kerri Seymour, Emily Hinson, Donquita Williams, Jeremy Latimer, Dakota Lorenzen, and Jennifer Dandron.

The student tutors were required to attend a workshop led by Jeff Yant, director of the YMCA’s Camp Lakeside.

“Our students are fortunate to have the opportunity to take part in the 21st Century after-school program,” said Brian Campbell, assistant superintendent of instruction for Lincoln County Schools.

“It is crucial for students to have as many learning experiences as possible during their formative years. These learning experiences often provide students with the motivation they need to excel in the classroom.”

He noted that research shows that participation in extra-curricular activities improves classroom performance.

For more information about the 21st CCLC Program, contact Family Connection at 706-359-5769.

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