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Wood County BOE officials tour Jefferson Elementary Center extended day program

Jefferson Elementary Center teacher Wendy Stanphill teaches her students math lessons as part of the Jefferson extended day program on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

PARKERSBURG — Wood County Schools Superintendent Will Hosaflook and Wood County Board of Education members Judy Johnson and Debbie Hendershot toured Jefferson Elementary Center’s extended day program on Wednesday afternoon.

Starting last week, the extended day program allows students who are struggling in class to catch up on lessons. Currently, 70 students from kindergarten through fifth grade are participating in the three days a week program, with 13 Jefferson teachers volunteering.

“I think it just goes to show the quality of the staff that we have here at Jefferson, they’re willing to go the extra mile to service the kids and do what they need at the end of the day,” Jefferson Elementary principal Julie Gibson said. “They are exhausted and we’ve asked them to stay another hour and continue to work with the children. So the fact that 13 of them said that they would do it just shows the caliber of staff we have here in Jefferson.”

Subjects being taught are reading, math and writing instruction from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Students are taught two subjects a day, 30 minutes apiece and only five or six students are in one group providing much-needed one-on-one instruction.

The program was supposed to be a six-week tutoring instruction starting on Feb. 15, but inclement weather delayed the start until last week making the program five weeks now, ending on March 26, the last Thursday before spring break begins.

According to Assistant Principal Tina Lowers, only a few openings remain for kindergarten, fourth and fifth grade, but first through third grades have no more openings.

Students selected for the program are based on their grading data and recommendation from teachers on which students would benefit the most from being in the program, according to Gibson.

Funded through Title One and changes in the school’s budget, Gibson said the program will last until the end of the year, with a new group replacing the current students and it is hoped the program will continue for many years to come.

“I would love it to extend into next year and just be part of what we do here. Take a look at the data every six weeks and decide what’s working, who has met the requirements and who else we can get in to address some weaknesses,” Gibson said.

Writing the first grant for a similar program at Jefferson 20 years ago, Johnson is happy the program is going strong and helping out students.

“I love to see it, Sharon Steele and I wrote the first grant for the extended day program here at Jefferson about 20 years ago. Before that, it was unheard of in the county to keep kids after school. This is wonderful to see that it’s carrying on and to see these children with the small groups because the more teacher interaction they have,” Johnson said. “The more successful they’ll be. So when they can look at the teacher around the small table and get instant recognition, it gives them the motivation to do so much better.”

Hendershot shared similar thoughts.

“This program is very effective, with 70 students and 13 teachers, I think they’re getting more one-on-one and that it will hopefully help them to bring their grades up and get where they need to be,” she said.

Tyler Bennett can be reached at tbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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