Take Back Polk’s second year launches this week
The inaugural year of Take Back Polk achieved what Commissioner and Middle School teacher Jennifer Hulsey always hoped would be the end product. Her goal to connect students who are struggling to succeed in middle school with mentors who want to help, and watch the positive results was met.
It worked out that students got certificates for their participation and completion of the program at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
Now with many of those same students and mentors back from summer vacation and into fall, the program is getting back underway for the second year.
“I think last year was successful, and we’re going to continue moving forward to help children with our program,” Hulsey said.
Between the two middle schools, Hulsey said there are around 60 students participating, potentially more in the second year of Take Back Polk.
Today and Thursday, mentors join students back at Cedartown and Rockmart Middle Schools to get back to work toward achieving positive goals in a student’s life. Whether it be working harder to gain better grades, or modifying behavior to get into less trouble while in the regular class setting, the ultimate goal is for youth to get the guidance they need to make good life decisions.
No major changes are in store for the program this year, though she said a slight uptick in the number of students participating.
Progress for the students in the program isn’t measured only by their grades or disciplinary record. For Hulsey and others, it has been their attitude that shows her the program is making a difference.
The program was formed last year by Hulsey for both Cedartown and Rockmart Middle Schools with the help of Sam Branch.
Additional help from the Polk School District administration to get it in place in the two schools started with mentor selections in August 2017 and moved on from there with monthly meetings between students and mentors.
Once the second year launch is completed at the end of this month, students and mentors will gather on a monthly basis, and if students meet certain goals set forth during this week they’ll get chances to take part in activities later in the year.
Hulsey said the program will likely hold off on taking any additional mentors for the time being, but that people can and have helped in other ways. For instance, when students get to take part in special programs later this year, help will be needed in other ways.
Those interested in helping the program via donations can contact Hulsey via e-mail at [email protected]
Commissioner Jennifer Hulsey, who also serves as an educator at Cedartown Middle School and helped organize the Take Back Polk program, spoke to students about her appreciation for their work this year with mentors from the community.