Community News Spring Creek expands after-school program with classes for parents

Community News Spring Creek expands after-school program with classes for parents

September 27th, 2017 by Heather Newlin in Community East Hamilton

Spring Creek Elementary counselor Terri Rodriguez displays some of the things Eagle Academy students did last year.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

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To sign up for Eagle Academy, parents can call Spring Creek at 866-6138, or contact their child’s teacher or Shelly Jackson before fall break. Jackson will send out a schedule of available classes and teachers will provide personal recommendations for tutoring or enrichment in specific subjects, though parents and students can decide which classes they want to take. A schedule detailing the classes students and parents will attend before and after school will be sent home with students.

After a year of success, Spring Creek Elementary is expanding its Eagle Academy. The social, athletic and academic program offers an extra hour of instruction to students both before and after school Monday-Thursday on everything from math to karate.

Last year, 230 of Spring Creek's 700 students in grades pre-K through fifth chose to participate, said Eagle Academy Director Shelly Jackson, and the great response received from students, parents and teachers has allowed the school to expand the program for the 2017-2018 school year.

Eagle Academy will start up again after students return from fall break Oct. 16, and this year, Spring Creek will use the program to help with the school's initiative to involve parents in their children's education. In addition to classes for students, Eagle Academy will offer classes for parents as well.

Parents can sign up to learn how to teach math to their kids, learn how to do their taxes in a course from H&R Block, or participate in a cooking course, Jackson said.

Classes students can choose from include tutoring, academic enrichment, art, dance, cultural studies, music, karate, soccer, basketball, reading and math.

"I try to accommodate all of their wishes — dance was full and karate was full last year," Jackson said, regarding the variety of offerings. "We create a waiting list in case students want to switch their classes around. Students will rotate into new classes on a regular basis; basically every semester. Last year, we even ended up adding a chess class in the middle of the year because the students wanted it and we luckily had a teacher who knew how to play."

Christian Vining moved to the area last year and attended Spring Creek Elementary for his fifth-grade year. He participated in Eagle Academy's karate, basketball and math programs after school.

"Being around the people at Eagle Academy — the teachers and the coaches — just made it better for him to settle down and be happy where he's at, and made his adjustment to the school better," said his mom, Stephanie Bogardus.

Jackson said the program's offerings are beneficial beyond just the classroom.

"Even though the sports programs don't compete, they offer instruction and teach the skills for sports and self discipline, team building and character building," she said.

Eagle Academy is funded by a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, a federal grant that provides compensation for certified teachers volunteering their hours to instruct academic enrichment classes. The grant requires that students attend at least 30 sessions of Eagle Academy.

Last year, Spring Creek was one of seven schools to receive the grant. Nearly 30 faculty members volunteered their time to make the academy a success last year.

"It seems like Spring Creek has a lot of teachers who are willing to go above and beyond," said Bobbie Mock, guardian of former Spring Creek students Haleigh and Jacob Hicks, who participated in the program last year before graduating from the elementary school.

Mock said she was impressed that teachers were willing to dedicate two extra hours a day to students.

"The kids, as much as teachers and parents, want to do well," Jackson said. "They're wanting to read, they're wanting to do math, even if they just might be a little bit behind.

"Our community here is amazing."