Century Elementary ESP featured in ‘AFTERSCHOOL Update’
First edition of state newsletter shares program’s success
The Extended School Program (ESP) at Century Elementary School was recently featured in the first edition of a newsletter for ESP schools and families across the state.
The “North Dakota AFTERSCHOOL Update” is distributed to North Dakota teachers, school administrators, parents and students providing news from 21st Century Community Learning Centers throughout the state that offer stories of success, practices, innovative program ideas and tips for program sustainability as well as pictures of Century students parti-cipating in ESP activities. The newsletter shared information on how the program at Century Elementary has become a success through a colla-boration aimed at impacting student learning.
Century Principal Nancy Burke and Lori Zahradka, co-project director for the Red River Valley Extended School Project, wrote and submitted the feature story, explaining the transition that began when Grafton Schools were struggling to meet AYP. According to the article, through the Red River Valley Regional Education Association (RRVREA), a team of administrators and educators defined goals of the association: to provide alignment throughout the region on standards based curriculum, balanced assessments, response to intervention differentiated instruction and positive behavioral interventions and supports.At that time, Century Elementary and the Grafton School District began to develop a collaborative approach between the school day and the extended school day program. By coordinating staff, curriculum, technology and funding, Century provided an environment where students were able to learn in programs that were supported by each other. Currently, ESP at Century is coordinated with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, North Dakota Parental Information Resource Center, Upper Valley Special Education Unit, Title 1, Migrant School and ELL. The school program alignment includes common reading and math curriculum, common assessment practice, instructional strategies and positive behavior support for the school day and ESP.
According to Sandy Mahar, Century ESP coordinator, the article explained how the ESP program has become more of an integral part of the Grafton school education system as a whole by aligning the extended school program with what is going on at the school during the day. More teachers are involved with the program, providing help with homework before and after the school day. After homework is completed, students attending ESP have a math reading or computer lesson. Younger students get a little extra play time, time around the active boards and reading time.
According to Mahar, ESP is geared toward helping families. ESP families have access to the Parent Resource Center at North Valley Career and Technology Center which offers educational information to parents and families are treated to family night activities every other month. Parent, grandparent and community volunteers are always welcome to help out before or after school, Mahar stated.
Last year, schools in the Grafton district met AYP goals. Something Mahar contributes, in part, to ESP.
“It (ESP) helped with integrating the reading and the math, and because of that we had more coherence and continuity with the schools’ programming,” Mahar said. “Our ESP program is far ahead of many other schools and our success is due in a large part to the support of the administration, certified teachers who are willing to teach at the extended program, adult aides and our entire staff.