(03/12/2002)
by Tony Russell

The evaluation team from RESA V visited us last week to conduct our mid-year program evaluation. The team included Ron Nichols, Dave Scragg, and Debbie Thompson. Ron, of course, is the Executive Director of RESA V, and familiar to many in Calhoun County, having served here at one time as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. We appreciate this service from RESA V, and welcomed the chance to get an outside view of how we're doing. They will present us with a written report within a few weeks. Thanks to everyone who participated in the evaluation, including our Partnership Committee members Trina Beall, Henry Cooper, and Donna Jordan, and to Paige Toney, who filled in for Sue Jones.

By way of illustrating the kind of enrichment Lights On! has made possible for our students, let's take a look at the current schedule of after-school offerings at Arnoldsburg: French (16 students per week); Science (17 students per week); Computer Use (14 students per week); tutoring and homework assistance (80 students per week); Lego Class with a guest speaker (15 students per week); a Book Club and educational games (26 students per week); Painting (12 students per week); Dance (12 students per week); Piano (30 students per week); Choir (10 students per week); Skating (21 students); and Jump Rope Drill Team (25 students per week). What a great set of opportunities for kids! Congratulations to Dan Cosgrove, Sheri Graham, and the Site Committee at Arnoldsburg for creating this array of offerings.

Two of the things colleges look at, when their admissions office is evaluating applicants, are the variety of a student's interests, and the passion with which the student pursues a particular interest. They like to see students who have taken advantage of unusual learning opportunities. Lights On! can help with all of these. This summer, we will once again be underwriting a "Virtual Learning" program at the high school. This program makes it possible for students to take all kinds of courses, over the Internet, for high school credit, at no charge! It means that students don't have to go to a giant high school in New York or California to be able to explore courses like German or Latin or Oceanography or Astronomy or Business Law or Computer Programming. Calhoun students can follow their interests and their dreams. Encourage them to talk with Mr. Offutt about how Virtual Learning can work for them.

Our Middle School Newspaper class with Julie Brown had a monkey wrench thrown in its works when its publishing program was wiped out in the computer lab. It has taken a while to order a new version and get it installed, but the class is back up and running now.

When I was down in Charleston for a meeting last week, I ran into Carlene Frederick and a group of her SCAT (Student Coalition Against Tobacco) students at the Capitol Building. Carlene's program is another one of those that Lights On! has helped fund. Reducing the number of students who use tobacco products is an important goal that our programs share.

Another call this afternoon from someone asking to be put on the waiting list for Terry Hickman's basket-making classes. That list extends into a sixth offering of this class; we also have a waiting list extending into a third offering for Terry's chair caning class. Terry is a superb teacher, and we appreciate her willingness to share her skills. The demand just continues to grow.

Several of us met at the Career Center today to work on details of the high school offering there this summer. We tried to plan for students who are behind in their credits, for students seeking enrichment, and for students who transfer in from a school that is not on the block credit system. Watch for an announcement of the summer program, which will give all of those groups of students a chance to meet their needs.

Those are our Lights On! Highlights for this week. We'll shine our flashlights in a few new places next time.


Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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