After school program advances children’s skills
John Glenn Elementary students at OCCC
EXPERIMENT: John Glenn Elementary students Eddie and Arianna perform classroom experiments with DNA samples at the OCCC Family and Community Education Center at 6500 S Land Ave in Oklahoma City. Erika Fierro/Pioneer

Learning continues beyond the classroom for 12 elementary students as they attend an after school program at OCCC’s Family and Community Education Center said Kristi Carlucci, community education coordinator.

“We have a lot to offer the community and we’re in an area that needs a lot of help, especially in academics,” Carlucci said. “We have a willing staff and I think this is an awesome partnership.”

The FACE center located at 6500 S Land Ave., partnered with John Glenn Elementary School located across the street from the FACE center, to provide additional educational support by focusing on literacy, Carlucci said.

John Glenn Elementary is part of the Western Heights School District.

“The goal is to increase the children’s interest in reading and writing and increase their reading and writing skills,” said Lisa Young, OCCC child development teacher.

Young said she has been working at OCCC for 20 years and was excited to take on a new challenge when she accepted to work with the literacy program.

The new program launched in the fall of 2015 is geared towards second and third graders as an effort to prepare them for the third grade standardized test, Young said.

Students attend the program after school everyday and constant communication between the elementary teachers and the program teacher is essential to tracking the progress of the students, Young said. Students are given a test at the beginning of the semester and then again towards the end of the semester, she said.

With the combination of literacy games, journal writings, and science experiments students have made progress, Young said.  “A couple of the children have increased an entire grade level in reading,” Young said.

Carlucci said science Wednesdays are incorporated in the weekly program as a different approach to reading.

Students read the directions, complete the experiment, and write in their journal their observations, Young said.

The teachers at John Glenn Elementary decide which students would benefit from the program and extend the invitation to the parents, Young said. “The parents have to enroll the child and pay a $20 fee.”

When this reporter attended a science Wednesday, students were taught about DNA and completed an experiment with Carlucci. The students were able to wear science goggles, use science equipment, and ask questions throughout the experiment.

“The program is at full capacity with 12 students to one teacher and there is a big waiting list,” Carlucci said.

“I think the program is great and that it is successful, and I think it will continue to be successful as it grows, and changes, and evolves,” Young said.

Funding for child education programs is generated through various grants obtained specifically for the programs, Carlucci said.

“The literacy program is one of many programs designed for child education,” Carlucci said. Other programs include College for Kids, the biggest program of the year held in the summer which served about 150 students last year, scout badge classes, and STEAM camp for middle school students and fourth graders.

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