New after-school program in Liberty will provide enrichment activities for 50 middle-schoolers.


By Samantha Phillips

sphillips@vindy.com

LIBERTY

The Liberty school district is moving closer to its goal of providing after-school programs at each grade level .

By partnering with the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, the district hopes to help middle-schoolers achieve success.

Starting this month, 50 fifth- and sixth-graders from the W.S. Guy Middle School will participate in the Success After 6 program. The school already has a Success By 6 program to prepare children for first grade. Liberty school officials wanted an intervention and enrichment program that would reach older students.

“It’s exciting. We have a great working relationship with United Way. Success By 6 has led to literary gains, and kids have greater comfort entering kindergarten,” said Joe Nohra, superintendent.

Principal Andrew Scarmack, teachers and the guidance counselor collaborated to select middle-school students for the program who missed early benchmarks in elementary school.

“A lot of teachers wanted it to be here. Being with them all day, they know children that are struggling, and they want to see progress from the after-school program,” Scarmack said.

The program will run from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday,, and will provide tutoring, behavioral activities and enrichment activities. Students will be fed and provided transportation.

“We focus on the child and everything they need. We focus on the academic aspect, work with classroom teachers to see what students need and provide it through intervention and enrichment,” said Pam McCurdy, United Way Success After 6 curriculum director.

Nohra said the goals are to promote social and emotional growth in students, help them improve academically and make them more comfortable in a school setting.

Roxann Sebest, UW marketing and communications director, noted the SMARTS Center, Chess is Life and OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology will make visits for the after-school program for enrichment activities. Also trips to the Jewish Community Center are planned.

Later this month, students will play indoor tennis at the gymnasium in the old Liberty High School on Church Hill Road. The gymnasium is undergoing renovations, including refinished floors and new lighting. Once it’s complete, it will be a youth recreation center.

The United Way Success After 6 program has been implemented in the Youngstown Community School, five schools in the Youngstown City School District and Girard Prospect Elementary, Sebest said. Those schools offer wellness programs that may be added to Liberty’s program in the future.

The Liberty school board is providing transportation for the program. The Thomases Family Foundation awarded the district $15,000 to refinish the old high school’s gymnasium floor for the program.

“It’s great to see that many people see the need for after-school programs, to have a hot meal, get away from the video games to work on homework and do wellness and enrichment activities,” Nohra said.

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