Learning Day To Be Extended For Center Children - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/18/05 - Center

Learning Day To Be Extended For Center Children

by Donna McCollum

The Center Independent School District has been awarded $625,000 to establish what are called "Texas 21st Century Community Learning Centers." The centers will provide after-school activities to promote learning and better lifestyles. If it works Center ISD stands to gain $2.67-million in the next five years.

That's reason enough for celebration. On Friday at a special announcement, SFA cheerleaders led elementary children in motivational cheers. "How are you doing?," the cheerleaders yelled. Quickly the children responded, "Super, great and getting better!!"

You can call it a cheer of opportunity. Center ISD with help from Stephen F. Austin State University can now provide students the extra help they need in reading, writing and mathematics. At the end of the school day instead of locking the doors and going home the Center school district will open its doors so children can receive the help they need.

SFA faculty from the College of Education will be involved in providing professional development for teachers in academic enrichment strategies in the area of literacy. SFA's Department of Mathematics and Statistics will also help with instruction.

SFA's Director of External Relations, Dr. Lupe Guerrero said, "Learning must go on after school hours and we definitely intend to promote that idea in a way that's engaging for the students and also will increase the level of parent participation."

Something caring parents like Claudia Gonzalez Tello want to do for their children. "I think they are doing a great job in trying to find ways to help our children to be more successful. I think this is great," said Gonzalez Tello, who also helps migrant children.

Academics, conflict resolution, cultural development and even a wellness program will be offered. Mildred Johnson, a school nurse for 31 years said, "Some of these children can even go home and tell mama and daddy about this. And that's the main thing I want them to do is learn what we're trying to teach them."

Interns with the Division of Nursing will be involved in community service teaching students about obesity, nutrition, drug abuse, diabetes and mental health issues.

Center students aren't the only ones who will benefit. Literacy and educational development will be available to family members of participating students.

Guerrero and principal Margie Blount co-wrote the grant. They're the foundation for academic excellence. "We believe we are. And we want to make sure that it is very successful and it makes a lasting impression on the school district," said Blount.

This can be easily accomplished considering 450 students will now have several new after school learning opportunities.

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