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News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, January 16, 2014
Pilot program blossoms into full afterschool program in Surry

by Anne Berleant

School board members unanimously approved an afterschool program proposal put forth by member Laura Pellerano on January 7.

Pellerano served on the committee that ran a pilot program for one week during December to evaluate interest among students and parents and test curriculum and schedule.

“We’re helping kids, we’re helping parents, we’re helping the community by putting this together,” Pellerano said.

Forty-one students participated in the one-week pilot program, with all but one coming from Kindergarten through fifth grade.

“They loved it,” said literacy teacher Abi Bartlett, who helped run the pilot week.

The program will run from 3 to 5 p.m., February 24 through May 30. Mondays through Wednesdays will be open to all students; Thursdays are set aside for robotics for fourth- through eighth-graders, and there are no afterschool sessions on Fridays. There is no charge for the program, and transportation home is not provided.

The projected $7,750 cost will be paid for out of Title I funds (federal grant money distributed among roughly 56,000 United States public schools with a comparatively high percentage of students from low-income families.) This will cover supplies and the salaries of Bartlett and Miranda Engstrom, and Laura Johns, who will teach Robotics.

“We looked at the money and said we could do it this year,” said Principal Cathy Lewis.

Pellerano proposed the program run for 13 weeks, to end just before the school year.

“If you have a consistent program, you’ll get 60 to 70 percent” of students, she said. “It’s a program that’s going to reach a lot of kids.”

The program is structured to include 30 minutes of outdoor activity and 30 minutes of arts and crafts for kindergarten through second grade or homework for older students. A 45-minute segment will focus on literacy-, science- or math-based “mini courses.”

Last September, the school board set a goal of creating a structured afterschool program for 2014-15 and included nearly $10,000 in the first draft of its proposed budget for a 37-week program, which will cover three teacher salaries, contracted instruction and supplies. Robotics will continue one afternoon a week.

After School Program

Surry Elementary School, Feb. 24-May 30, 3-5 p.m., Surry Elementary School