It’s 7:30 a.m. and most grade school students are still asleep, or just getting up to begin the day.
However, there are a few ambitious ones already in the classroom at Rugby’s Ely Elementary getting help with homework assignments or preparing for tests.
“It’s pretty impressive to think they are getting up and coming in at that time,’ said Deb Goven, a Title One teacher. “I’m at the school by 7:15 and a short time later there already are a number of students in the classroom.”
The Rugby School District this year implemented a Before-and-After School Homework Assistance program at Ely which is open to all students in grades K-6, including Little Flower students. A Title One stimulus grant is being used to fund the additional staff time.
Goven helps students in the morning while Alyson Schepp and Cassie Duchscher are there in the afternoons.
“It’s been one of the best programs the district has offered,’ Goven said. “I haven’t had any discipline problems. The students are there for the help and have behaved themselves.”
On average, about 7-10 students show up in the morning between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Monday thru Friday. The after- school program which is from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Monday thru Thursday usually has around 12 students.
Primarily, those who come in for help are in grades three thru six, which is when students begin to receive more homework. However, Goven said she gets a few younger ones who come in and want to be quizzed before taking spelling tests.
The subjects students request help with range from math and science to reading and spelling.
“I think they appreciate it (the program), and some rely on it,’ Schepp said. “Many like leaving knowing their homework is done.”
Duchscher is impressed with the students who take the initiative to use the program. “I think it shows a lot of responsibility on their part, especially those who do come in the morning,’ she said.
And while the program is offered one hour before and after school, the students aren’t required to be there the entire time.
“I think some students thought they had to stay the entire time, but once they learned they didn’t, more were willing to come.
It’s not just Ely students who are coming. A handful from Little Flower take the bus over to receive the help.
Duchscher said it’s more than just helping them complete their work, but also helping to improve their study skills.
A Title One federal stimulus grant enabled the district to offer the Before-and-After School Homework Assistance program, and while the teachers are paid for the extra classroom time, they see this program as a big benefit for students.
And they are happy to see so many taking advantage of it.
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