BRIDGING THE GAP
Published 1:32 pm Friday, July 5, 2013
Program helps students retain lessons
By Fred Guarino
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The Lowndes Signal
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories detailing programs implemented by the Lowndes County Board of Education. The programs are designed to help student achievement and bridge the gap between school years.
Alabama Accountability Act information released recently listed both Lowndes County Middle School in Fort Deposit and Hayneville Middle School as “failing schools.” But a Summer Bridge Program at both schools is designed to help students at those schools retain what they learn.
The result of the failing school listing is $3,500 in state income tax credits for families with students in a failing school to attend a private school.
Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd said, “The program is exactly what the name is. It’s a bridge, which means we bridge the content knowledge during the school year through the summer so when they come back to school they’ve retained a lot of things that they’ve learned.”
Boyd said, “We’re really, really fortunate to have this particular program. And from all accounts, everyone is truly enjoying it.”
Boyd explained that a lot of learning is dealing with abstract content, things you can’t “feel or see,” He said the focus of the Bridge Program is to learn by doing so there are a lot of hands on activities.
Regarding the failing schools issue being addressed, he said, “Any time you provide instruction to students it helps the learning process. So, by having instruction during the summertime it helps us with state accountability and federal accountability plans.”
Eric Chatman, site coordinator for the Summer Bridge Program at Hayneville Middle School, which held closing ceremonies on Monday said, “It is an enrichment program where we focus on reading and math, arts, music and etiquette and different things to prep students as they go into the next school year.”
She said the students visited AUM (Auburn University at Montgomery) where they did arts and crafts, skating, pump it up, visited the Georgia Aquarium, the Birmingham Zoo and DeSoto Caverns.
She said the purpose is to prepare the students as they transition into the next grade and strengthen them in reading and math.
The program was held for grades K-8.
One of the projects the students participated in was to write their own books, which Boyd said teaches them writing, art and communications skills.
Devonta Murphy, a seventh grader, wrote a book “about a boy who was to afraid to give speeches in front of a classroom.” Jayla Cain said her book “is about a stolen statue.” She said the characters try to find out who took and “in the end they figure it out.” Autumn Sith said her book was about people who were lost in the dessert and no one could find them. She said her characters “had to spend the night in the dessert.” Oscar McCall wrote about Isaach Newton “and how he explained his theories.”
Deborah Scott is coordinator for the program at Lowndes Middle school. She said the program purpose is to keep students busy during the summer maintaining their reading and math levels.
Regarding the failing schools issue, she said, “We have certified teachers from different schools — Fort Deposit Elementary and Lowndes Middle” who are teaching the students using the career readiness program.
“It fills the gap from regular school and the summer,” she said.