HED:After-school classes coming to Shannon

AUTHOR: GINN

HED:After-school classes coming to Shannon

By Jennifer Ginn

Daily Journal

When the final bell rings on some school days this fall, many Shannon Elementary students won’t be going home: They’ll enter a new world of cultural wonders.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Lee County School Board approved a pilot after-school program at Shannon Elementary this fall.

Sandra Ashby, assistant principal at the school, presented a plan to the board that will let students take classes in Spanish, drama, dance, string instruments and art.

“I got the idea from a school in Vicksburg that’s been doing this during the day,” Ashby said. “I wanted to do this after school to get more community involvement. I think this will keep kids excited about school.”

How it will work

Classes will be divided into students from grades K-3 and 4-6. Each class will be offered to both age groups, with class size limited to 20 students.

The drama, dance, string instruments and art classes will meet for one hour a day, one day a week for eight to 10 weeks. Ashby said the Spanish classes, which are the main emphasis of the program, will meet twice a week.

“It’s going to be the main focus, foreign language,” Ashby said. “We have about a 2 percent Hispanic population in our school. Our kids need to know how to communicate. We’re just a diversified community and I want to reflect that in our after-school program.”

Transportation from the classes must be provided by the family. There also will be a small fee to participate to cover the costs of teacher salaries and supplies. Although plans are still in the works for the classes, Ashby envisions a charge of about $10 a session.

Board president Ronnie Robison said he thinks the classes will be good for students. He asked Ashby to come back to the board at a later date to explain how the program went and whether it’s worth expanding to other schools in the district.

“I think it’s a super idea,” Robison said. “I think we sometimes forget that the schools are not set up for us. They’re set up for the students and the community. Anything we can do to make children excited about being at school will help.”

Ashby said the teachers for the classes will be both school district employees and residents from around Lee County. In each classroom, however, a certified teacher will serve as an assistant. So no matter who is leading the class, a teacher will be with the children at all times.

Classes will begin this fall after standardized testing is completed in October. Classes will be offered each semester.

FAXBOX

If you’re interested in signing your child up for an after-school class or would like to teach one, call Assistant Principal Sandra Ashby at Shannon Elementary School, 767-9514.