By Joycelyne Fadojutimi and Jasmine Brown
Some South Ward Elementary School students are getting a head start on next year by attending summer school. Also, some 5th graders who have yet to pass the TAKS test are working on it during the summer break in anticipation of a successful testing next semester. They do not mind coming because they understand the important reasons for it, and take it all in stride.
“It’s OK,” one of them said. “We get out at twelve noon and have the rest of the day off.”
South Ward Elementary School Principal Carl Briley, Ed.D. has thirteen years as a professional educator, and sees hope for these students. He and his staff are working hard with these students to insure a positive outcome for next graduation day.
Aside from the 5th graders, younger pupils are participating in Bilingual Oral Language Development (BOLD.) This program concentrates on Hispanic students who do not yet speak English. This inability is a barrier to scholastic success and places young Hispanics in “at risk” status. Summer English courses prepare them for next autumn’s classes.
According to Briley this is one way South Ward is coping with the ongoing influx of non-English-speaking students. Morning and afternoon tutorials are offered. There will be Saturday classes four weeks prior to TAKS testing for all students.
There are also going to be parent-teacher seminars this summer.
Briley reports there are two standards- one from parents, and one from schools. Parents may think their children are doing well in school when in reality they are not. The seminars will clear up this misconception and inform parents what standards are expected of students.
Teachers nowadays are being compelled to work harder, but with fewer resources. They often volunteer their time, serving as parent, counselor and teacher in their classrooms. Briley concludes, “Teachers are dedicated to educating their students and it takes a special person to fill in these roles in the lives of young people for expected positive outcomes.”