Archive for Thursday, October 11, 2007

A helping hand

Starside students stay after school for extra education with Sparkle

October 11, 2007

As she held up the card, English as a second language teacher Sharyl Serafin asked her small group of students, "What is this word?"

Serafin was working on reading skills with students on the first day of Starside Elementary School's Sparkle program.

Serafin read through words, including "add," "between," "own" and "country." She asked the students to identify each word and then asked them if they knew what the word meant.

"What is a country?" she asked one student.

"I know. It's like Kansas," one responded.

Serafin then told students about her trip to Ireland and noted that Ireland is a country and Kansas is a state.

This small group in the media center was a sliver of the 85 children who were selected to stay after school for the program that targets students who need extra attention in the areas of math and reading.

Second-grade teacher Katie Keen also worked with students on reading as she tried to figure out what each student's needs were.

Keen said although this is her second year participating in the 7-year-old program, she has seen improvement among the students.

"The reading skills do improve from it," she said. "They are more confident, and they don't second guess themselves."

Earlier this school year, Starside received a $416,903 grant from the Kansas Department of Education to be used over the next five years to help fund Sparkle and the district's summer school program.

The grant comes just a year after Starside failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress on state reading assessment. It was learned last month the school did achieve progress on tests taken last spring.

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