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STEM after school: MORE Dothan

After-school program in line with district goals in Dothan, AL

Published August 1, 2017

At a glance

  • After-school programs in Dothan school district reinforce and expand on the content students learn in class.
  • The programs were made possible largely thanks to a Twenty-First Century Grant.

DOTHAN, AL - The after-school programs at Girard and Honeysuckle Middle Schools will never be confused with glorified day care. The highly structured, engaging, and interactive programs provide four half-hour experiences every day in STEM, math, social studies, and physical activity that are preceded by a nourishing midafternoon meal to ensure students have the fuel needed to make it through an extra two hours of academic and physical enrichment.

Dothan City Schools’ Director of Federal Programs and School Instructional Specialist Lee Jacobs helped set up the popular (about 80 students each day at each school) after-school programs by securing a Twenty-First Century Grant for Girard and cobbling together other funds to establish the program at Honeysuckle.

Girard and Honeysuckle were targeted to receive the after-school programs because of their Title I status and as part of the district’s MORE Dothan initiative. “That stands for Multiply Opportunities, Resources, and Experiences,” Jacobs explained. “We need to give our children more opportunities to succeed, more resources so they can succeed, and more experiences so they can get prepared to eventually go out into the workforce. We’re doing good things, but we’re not doing enough.”

The after-school programs are a big step in the right direction. Anna Tew is a sixth-grade science and STEM teacher at Girard who also facilitates in the after-school program. “They’re getting that extra bit of information that may not have been explained very thoroughly in the classroom, and they’re getting a double dose of it in here and branching out a little bit more and diving deeper into it,” she said.

For example, a snap circuit activity using a hands-on board is an extension to the Urban Wind Farm and Electric Tech Pitsco Expeditions. “This carries on what we’ve done with wind turbines, with voltage, with closed circuits, and parallel circuits,” Tew said. “They’re asking more probing questions, more detailed questions. . . . They’re rubbing off on the other kids in the classroom.”

Such after-school opportunities would not be possible without community support in the form of the Bright Key program, the Wiregrass Foundation, and sponsorship from local businesses such as the Alfred Saliba Corporation and Berkshire Hathaway Showcase Properties.

“Pitsco STEM products provide students learning opportunities to construct their own understanding of concepts in science, technology, engineering, and math. Students actively collaborate, communicate, concentrate, and creatively create while using processes and skills needed for next generation success in today’s world. Powerful.”

– Jill Brockmier, teacher, Jefferson Elementary School, Pullman, Washington

We enable young learners to develop the mind-set, skill set, and tool set needed for future success.

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