Smack­over-Nor­phlet School Dis­trict look­ing to cre­ate par­ent re­source guide

El Dorado News-Times - - Front Page - By Michael Shine Staff Writer

SMACK­OVER — In an ef­fort to con­nect stu­dents out­side of school hours, the Smack­over-Nor­phlet School Dis­trict is work­ing to cre­ate a list of ac­tiv­i­ties open to stu­dents.

Through a form on the dis­trict’s blog and con­tact­ing lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions, the dis­trict is look­ing to cre­ate this list so that there’s one place par­ents can go to if they’re look­ing for ac­tiv­i­ties their stu­dents can par­tic­i­pate in af­ter school or dur­ing breaks.

Part of what is in­spir­ing this, cur­ricu­lum di­rec­tor Jen­nifer Lee said is the idea that when stu­dents are in­volved in the com­mu­nity and have more pos­i­tive role mod­els in their lives, they’ll do bet­ter in school.

“As a par­ent, it can be tough,” Lee said. “It’s like ‘well, what can my child do af­ter school?’ or if they’re new to the com­mu­nity. Well, we want to have a list where we can go ‘well, Candy Philips is in­volved in Boy Scouts for our area and if you want your child in­volved, here’s her con­tact in­for­ma­tion. If you’re in­ter­ested in Camp Fire, go con­tact these peo­ple be­cause we have Camp Fire right here in Smack­over and Nor­phlet. If you’re in­ter­ested in Girl Scout­ing, con­tact them. If you’re in­ter­ested in Pee Wee sports, here.’”

Some of the ex­am­ples Lee gave of pro­grams in­clude scout­ing groups, Camp Fire, com­mu­nity ath­let­ics, sum­mer read­ing pro­grams, tu­tor­ing, fine arts, sum­mer break­fast and lunch pro­grams, and faith-based pro­grams.

Lee said the school is aware of some op­tions for stu­dents, but want more or­ga­ni­za­tions and more in­for­ma­tion to be in­cluded in the com­piled list.

“I’m in the midst of send­ing out an email to a bunch of non-prof­its,” Lee said. “We’re not just lim­it­ing it to just Smack­over, Nor­phlet, Mt. Holly. We’re send­ing it out. We want to get this and we want to in­clude peo­ple.”

Once com­piled, with an early dead­line of Dec. 31, the list of op­por­tu­ni­ties will go out on the school dis­trict’s blog and will con­tinue to be up­dated through­out the year.

Su­per­in­ten­dent John Gross said part of the hope is that stu­dents who are more in­volved in ac­tiv­i­ties over ex­tended breaks from school will lose less of the in­for­ma­tion the av­er­age stu­dent loses when out of school.

Ac­cord­ing to, the North­west Eval­u­a­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, a stu­dent can lose any­where from 20 to 50 per­cent of what they learned dur­ing the school year while on sum­mer va­ca­tion. How­ever, one of the com­monly cited ways to de­crease that loss is to keep a stu­dent ac­tive with a va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties over sum­mer break.

“If we can do that then we might be able to limit some of the re­gres-

sion that stu­dents have dur­ing the sum­mer,” Gross said. “If we can have read­ing pro­grams and li­brary pro­grams, there’s so much that the kids lose over the sum­mer, but if we can do some­thing like this and get these kids in­volved in some­thing then maybe we won’t have to go back and re­view so much when schools starts next year and move our classes for­ward more.”

When it comes to the af­ter­school pro­grams, Lee said she hopes hav­ing more ac­tiv­i­ties could give stu­dents more role mod­els in their lives to check that they’re do­ing home­work or mak­ing good test scores.

“We know that when a kid is con­nect, they will do bet­ter be­cause you will have more adults who are car­ing about them ,” Lee said. “We’ve been hear­ing a lot about the power of five, where most suc­cess­ful chil­dren have at least five car­ing adults in their life. We want their teacher to be one of those car­ing adults, we want their par­ents to be one of those car­ing adults, grand­par­ents. But if a child doesn’t have that, maybe a coach will be. Maybe one of the coaches at pee wee sports will be like ‘Hey, how’d your spell­ing test go this week,’ ‘Hey, how’s your sci­ence pro­ject go­ing.’ The more they have, the bet­ter sup­port they’re go­ing to have.”

Michael Shine may be reached at 870-862-6611 or [email protected]­do­radonews.com. Fol­low him on Twit­ter and like him on Face­book @MichaelAZShine for up­dates on Union County school news.

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