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New program launched

Lindsay McClure, of the Record staff

The learning won’t end every day at 3:05 for a group of elementary school student volunteers this year at McPolin Elementary School. Educators are working to entice young scholars to participate in a new program by offering a unique twist to classroom learning.

The Park City Education Foundation (PCEF) is preparing to launch an after-school enrichment, three-year pilot program at McPolin. According to Abby McNulty, executive director of the PCEF, the program aims to provide additional academic rigor for students. This pilot program will run two hours a day, three days a week and is free of charge.

Two separate ideas, one by the PCEF and another by staff at McPolin, were merged in January when the groups realized that they were working on similar projects. The program was approved at the PCEF board meeting this June.

The program is being initiated based on results of a survey conducted by the PCEF that identified a need for additional resources targeting at-risk McPolin students. McPolin Elementary has been identified by the national No Child Left Behind Act for not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks. Approximately 15 percent of the student body at McPolin begins school with limited background in the English language. The program looks to ease additional challenges for teachers who need to commit individual attention to these students, McNulty said.

All McPolin students are welcome to participate, however English Language Learning (ELL) students will be encouraged to attend. McNulty said PCEF expects 20-30 students initially. The program is able to expand to accommodate all interested students.

According to McNulty, all PCEF programs must be fully funded before they are launched. Costing $40,000 annually, the program will soak up $120,000 over its three-year pilot run.

The After School Enrichment Program won’t be just a few more hours in the classroom, but looks to lure students to participate with a more interactive curriculum. The hours will be divided into three main components; homework club, a concentrated math and/or reading segment, and enrichment classes. Snacks, games, and time on the computer will keep kids engaged and moving around.

The program will take place at McPolin Elementary and will be lead by five full-time certified teachers including a program coordinator. Parents will be responsible for providing student transportation as bus schedules will not be extended to accommodate the program.

According to McNulty, the PCEF will be following the program closely, watching for improved test scores and student behavior in the classroom as indications of a successful program. If the program is found to be valuable, the hope is that it can be expanded into other area Elementary schools or even throughout all the district’s schools.

For more information please contact McPolin Elementary at 645-5630.

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