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
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.