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PAWS program at MES to help students realize goals

Posted: January 28, 2014 11:54 a.m.
Updated: January 29, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Midway Elementary School (MES) landed a $272,000 state grant recently to start an afterschool and summer Positive Achievement with Students (PAWS) program. Teachers Teri Davis, Selena Jones, Laura Privette and Katie Todd collaborated to write the grant.

Privette, also MES’ guidance counselor, explained that Principal Dell Brabham approached the team to write the grant.

“We met at four different times to write it,” Privette said. “It took a lot of time because it had to have everything planned out in depth and detail, including the budget, the schedule, the personnel, the programs. It took extensive planning.”

Davis said she was excited about the program because it will instill into the students the “desire to further their education and grow their future.” Jones agreed and added that so often students are encouraged to work towards their goals, but “it’s hard to work toward a goal if you don’t know what it is.”. Jones said she appreciates the PAWS program because it gives students the opportunity to realize their goals.

According to Jones, who is also a Title I facilitator at MES and the PAWS program director, the grant will be dispersed during a two and a half year period.

“Twenty-one schools and/or districts received this type of grant and it ranged from $90,000 to $292,000,” Jones said.

The PAWS program is funded through the state’s Economic Development Act and will provide extra academic enrichment and career opportunities for 51 MES third, fourth and fifth graders.

Brabham said the PAWS program will expand the school’s current intervention efforts that are limited due to time constraints and financial resources.

“The students served in this program will benefit from the additional instructional time outside of class as well as visits to colleges, universities, technical schools and businesses which they might not otherwise have an opportunity to experience. We expect great results from this program,” Brabham said.

She said the PAWS program will provide the foundation for academic success throughout these students’ careers.

“We will be tracking these students through high school and expect this program to improve their on-time graduation rates, GPAs and discipline records,” Brabham said. “It’s never too early to ensure that our students are career ready.”

According to information Jones provided, PAWS is designed to motivate students academically while providing them with opportunities to explore careers and develop social and emotional skills. The end goal is for students to feel more confident about themselves and their future.

The program consists of four components:

• Study Island -- a computer based program that will provide students with lessons in the areas of reading and math.

• SCOIS Climb -- a mixture of computer based research and hands-on activities that invites students to explore different career clusters by taking field trips to universities, technical schools and places of business where they could potentially work after their formal education is completed.

• Positive Action -- a program that offers students lessons that strengthen character, organization, self reflection, confidence and skills to transfer to the school and work place

• Homework Assistance -- a component that gives students 30 minutes each day to work on homework.

Jones said the Study Island, SCOIS Climb and Positive Action components are directed by a certified teacher, while homework assistance is led by three teacher assistants. Students selected to be in the PAWS program will meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Transportation is provided for students who need it and all students will be provided with snack and drink, along with time for recess following the regular school hours.

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