MIDDLEBOURNE - Director of Federal Programs and Student Services for Tyler County Schools Duane Dober has announced that Energy Express will not be available to families as it has been for the past several years.
Events and issues on both the local and national levels have resulted in the decision to end the program after more than a decade of successful operations.
The most difficult obstacle to operating the program is determining a reliable funding source that can be used at both ends of Tyler County.
The program was initially funded in the first year with money allocated to the school district through Title I, Part A funds from the federal government. That source of funding has been pared down almost annually and has been eliminated as a source of funding because of recurring reductions in allocations from the federal government. In addition, funding assistance from the Ruth Stealey Green Foundation coupled with funds received from grants provided by other local philanthropic organizations has enabled the district to continue to operate the program despite the elimination of federal funds as a source of support. However, those local organizations also support other community initiatives, making funding for the Energy Express program unpredictable at best.
"When the district began the Energy Express program, Federal funding was more than adequate to operate a first-class program. That is no longer the case", Dober said. "Furthermore, local dollars are stretched ever tighter to meet the needs of other organizations in our local communities", he continued.
"The Energy Express program has been a great program over the years under the leadership of so many of our college students who worked as mentors and as Community Service Coordinators. Many of those are now teachers in Tyler County. We have also enjoyed fabulous support from community volunteers and have had top-notch leadership directing the programs at both Boreman and Sistersville Elementary School for so many years. Fortunately, all is not lost for our elementary-aged students."
"There is some good news in all of this," Dober said.
Funding has been made available for Tyler County Schools to operate a summer school program for select students at the elementary grade levels to help them master essential skills by extending their learning opportunities into the summer to prevent regression of skills and learning. Therefore, the district is in the process of planning a summer school program and will be making announcements soon about eligibility criteria and other plans for summer school.
Susan Boyles, executive director of curriculum and instruction for Tyler County Schools, reported administrators have been working on a plan for summer school for months now and expect to release more information about that program for elementary-aged students within the next two or three weeks.
When plans are finalized, students will be given a note to bring home to their parents and guardians about summer school plans, who will qualify to attend, and what school officials to contact if parents and guardians have any questions.