SFPS releases details of private deal for dropout program

Categories: After School Programs
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Published on: April 17, 2014

Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:00 pm

Updated: 10:52 pm, Wed Apr 16, 2014.

SFPS releases details of private deal for dropout program

By Robert Nott
The New Mexican


1 comment

The president of the local teachers union said her organization supports the district’s plan to re-engage dropouts and help them earn their diplomas, but she said the union is still convinced the deal does not align with the state constitution.

NEA-Santa Fe President Bernice García Baca told the school board Wednesday night that teachers “love” the idea behind the planned Engage Santa Fe program, which will be run by the private, for-profit, Florida-based Atlantic Education Partners using the state and federal funding.

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      Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:00 pm.

      Updated: 10:52 pm.

      Article source: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/education/school-board-releases-more-details-of-private-deal-for-dropout/article_2e592f71-d803-599e-8108-7925dacdabe1.html

      Learning to Code: The New After-School Activity

      Categories: After School Programs
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      Published on: April 17, 2014

      With the advent of smartphones and handy mobile applications that help you hail a cab or find a gas station, the use of software has become more tightly intertwined with our daily lives. The success stories of some app developers have encouraged students and professionals to learn coding, the language of the future.

      80086 BN CJ062 coding D 20140414062231 Learning to Code: The New After School Activity
      Coding class at First Code Academy.
      First Code Academy

      Michelle Sun, a former Goldman Sachs technology analyst decided to take a three-month programming bootcamp at the Hackbright Academy in Silicon Valley after her first mobile application venture failed due to her lack of technical knowledge. Since then she worked as a programmer at Bump, a local-file-sharing app startup later acquired by Google and taught coding in high schools in the Bay Area.

      Inspired by her previous employer Joel Gasoigne–the founder of Silicon Valley-based social media management tool Buffer who made the app as a weekend project to meet his own needs to space out his tweets– the Hong Kong native founded a code learning workshop called First Code Academy in Hong Kong last year to pass on lessons she has learned.

      Sun spoke about coding in her daily life and the goals of her Hong Kong-based startup First Code Academy.  Below are edited excerpts.

      WSJD: How has the knowledge of coding helped you and your friends to live life smarter?

      Sun: During a hackathon – a contest which brings together computer programmers for a few days to cook up applications on the flyheld at LinkedIn, my team made an app that allows people to rent cocktail dresses from friends or friends of friends as we noticed that a lot of cocktail dresses were only used once or twice, then left unused in our closets. The app allows users to share their closet.

      My friend from Goldman wrote a script to automate his repeated task of monitoring news flow and notifying certain clients while a friend from the public relations industry wrote a customized homepage to aggregate content from the same content sources each morning.

      WSJD:  What is unique about First Code Academy?

      Sun:  First Code Academy believes that learning to code is learning to think.  Coding is a great tool to help students think better and more logically.  Many of our classes involve having students step away from their computer, engage in activities, game play and brainstorming. Through drawing out their logic on the whiteboard, prototyping their app ideas on paper, we encourage divergent, critical thinking.

      We aim to challenge the fear of failure so prevalent in Hong Kong’s culture. We encourage students to present their apps in each session, even though it is a rough first version. Our classroom is a safe place for experimentation, creating and sharing.  We adopted a slogan I spotted at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. –”Move Fast and Break Things”. We actually encourage students “breaking” their own app because by doing so, they are challenging the pre-designed instructions and learning fast.

      WSJD:   What do you think of the competition with other coding classes for youth such as UK-based Code Club and New York-based General Assembly?

      Sun: The industry is just starting and it requires more parties to raise awareness of the general public. I think programming is like Mandarin a decade ago – no matter which career path a person chooses, it will be an important core skill to excel in any job.

      WSJD:  How will you grow your coding academy? What are your major challenges?

      Sun: We are launching summer programs in a top local school in July, our first partnership with local schools (versus international schools so far). We are also expanding to more international schools in September.

      We see the challenges lie in communicating to more parents and teachers that coding is essential for the next generation’s success. Also, students are under crammed schedules after school.

      WSJD: What are the qualifications and background of your coding instructors?

      Sun: Our instructors come from both local and international–U.S., U.K. and Brazil. They have led technical education workshops for teens before and are passionate about education.  All of them have at least 5 years of experience in programming and have worked in startups as software and product engineers.

      WSJD:  Why did you choose Hong Kong over other locations? 

      Sun: I was born and raised in Hong Kong and studied here until before university. I understand the education system and the mindset of parents, students and teachers here and see an opportunity to make a difference.

      WSJD:  What is your ultimate goal with the coding academy?

      Sun: We want to bring coding education to all pre-university students.

      Article source: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/04/17/learning-to-code-the-new-after-school-activity/

      Russell academic new dean at OUS

      Categories: After School Programs
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      Published on: April 17, 2014

      IRONTON —
      Nicole Pennington chose a two-year community college degree track in 1991 because she wanted to enter the nursing work force with as little delay as possible.

      Twenty-three years and three more college degrees later, Pennington’s drive and efficiency have propelled her career from direct patient care to a pinnacle of regional academia.

      Ohio University Southern has appointed Pennington dean of the Ironton regional campus, making her the first woman in its history to have the position.

      She was one of five applicants under consideration for the post, a list that was narrowed to three after initial interviews.

      She will move into the dean’s office in July from another building on campus where she is wrapping up her duties as associate director of the OUS?nursing program.

      Pennington’s eight years with the OUS?nursing program prepare her well for the top administrative position, according to Dan Evans, the former dean who moved on to a regional OU?deanship and vice provost for eLearning OHIO before returning to the Ironton campus as interim dean during the search.

      “She understands the complex relationships between he regional campuses and the central campus in Athens, and the importance of communications across the organization,”?Evans said.

      Pennington, 40, grew up in Russell, graduated from Russell High School and still lives there. She moved into leadership positions early, spending her early nursing career at King’s Daughters Medical Center as charge nurse of a 40-bed acute care medical-surgical unit. During that time she supervised other nurses and completed fellowships in critical-care and maternal-child health, her clinical specialty.

      In 1999 she was appointed school health coordinator for the Russell district, managing health-related programs and services and supervising a school nurse and assistant.

      Between 2002 and 2011 Pennington earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing.

      She began her OUS?career in 2006 as an assistant professor.?The following year she was appointed interim associate director of nursing and tackled two top issues, low scores on licensing exams and high faculty turnover.

      Scores have increased and pass rates percentages typically are in the high 90s, above the state and national averages; faculty turnover was soon stabilized and Evans praises Pennington for that.

      “She has assembled an outstanding nursing faculty and staff and works well with them. She’s a good team player and a team builder, and that’s important to the role of dean,” he said.

      When Pennington came to OUS?there were 60 students enrolled in the associate degree nursing program; enrollment doubled in a year and Pennington began lobbying for a bachelor’s degree program.

      Studies show that by 2020 the health-care industry will need mostly registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees, she said.

      OUS?already had a 2+2 program, in which students study for the first two years at the regional campus before completing their degrees online, but some students prefer the traditional classroom route, Pennington said. “Different students have different needs and we are here to meet student needs.”

      Approval for the RN?program came through in 2012 and there are freshman and sophomore classes enrolled.

      For the regional campus to thrive it must focus on local work force needs and adapt to them, Pennington said. The goal there is to deliver quality education that will lead to good jobs and keep graduates in the area to grow the economy.

      OUS?also needs to focus on increasing enrollment and adhering to new state funding requirements that hold institutions accountable for course completion.

      She also is looking at enhancing student services, including tutoring, advising and transition services.

      Over the long term, Pennington envisions adding new degree and certification programs, expanding online and distance-learning programs, and reaching out further in the region.

      She sees her gender and her vocation as assets to the deanship. “It’s important for women to step up to leadership roles. Also I can be a role model for younger women.

      “Nursing is a caring profession. Nurses are trained to be adaptable and flexible. A nurse’s normal day is never normal.”

      Pennington replaces Bill Willan, who was named executive dean for regional higher education in 2013 and for whom Evans stepped in as interim dean.

      She has two sons, both of whom attend Russell High. Jacob, 18, is a senior and Nicholas, 15, is a sophomore. Her husband, Jonathan, is an Ashland firefighter. Her parents are Bucky and Sherri Jones.

      MIKE?JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or

      (606) 326-2652.

      Article source: http://www.dailyindependent.com/local/x1535570241/Russell-academic-new-dean-at-OUS

      The Princeton Review Releases 5th Annual Free “Guide To Green Colleges” In …

      Categories: After School Programs
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      Published on: April 17, 2014

      NEW YORK, April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – As the nation gears up to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, The Princeton Review, in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), today released the fifth annual edition of its free guidebook saluting the most environmentally responsible “green colleges.”

      “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges: 2014 Edition” profiles 330 schools in the U.S. and two in Canada that demonstrate exemplary commitments to sustainability in their academics, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation. Among the many schools that have made the guide for the past five years are Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois / Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Oregon.

      The 216-page book—the only free, comprehensive, annual guide to green colleges—can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide and www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide.  The guide features:

      • School profiles with information on admission, financial aid, and sustainability initiatives, plus “Green Facts” sidebars reporting on everything from the school’s use of renewable energy, recycling and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.
      • Lists of schools in the guide with LEED-certified buildings and of those that are signatories of the American College University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
      • Advice for living green on campus, plus a glossary of 40+ green terms and acronyms from AASHE to “zero waste.”

      The Princeton Review, one of the nation’s leading education services companies, first published the guide in 2010 in collaboration with USGBC. That year, USGBC, widely known for developing the LEED green building rating system, launched the Center for Green Schools at USGBC to increase efforts to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated so that all educational facilities can enhance student learning experiences. The guide was initially developed with generous support from United Technologies Corp., founding sponsor of the Center for Green Schools.

      Rob Franek, Senior VP/Publisher, The Princeton Review, commended USGBC and United Technologies Corp. for their generous support to help make this guide a free resource, particularly in light of the broad interest among today’s college-bound students in environmental issues.

      “Among 10,116 college applicants who participated in our 2014 ‘College Hopes Worries Survey,’ 61% said having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school,” Franek said. “To all students seeking to study and live at ‘green’ colleges we strongly recommend these schools. Among the 332 colleges in this guide: 30% of their total food expenditures goes towards local and/or organic food purchases; 63% of the schools offer an undergraduate major or degree that is sustainability-focused, and 73% of the new construction on their campuses is LEED-certified.”

      Said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, “Every year, millions of high school seniors must choose the college that’s best for them. In collaborating with The Princeton Review on this annual guide, we have seen that sustainability on campuses continues to be an important deciding factor for today’s four-year college-bound students.  We are excited to once again provide prospective students and their parents with a resource to help them navigate this often daunting decision-making process.”

      On Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22 from 2 to 2:45 pm ET, The Princeton Review’s Rob Franek will host a “Guide to 332 Green Colleges” Google+ Hangout accessible at https://plus.google.com/+ThePrincetonReview/posts. Joining the discussion will be Rachel Gutter from the Center for Green Schools at USGBC and administrators from some of guide’s green colleges. They will discuss innovative ways colleges are going green and chat with students interested in environmental issues and green schools.

      How Schools Were Chosen for the Book
      The Princeton Review chose the schools based on a survey the Company conducted in 2013. The survey asked administrators at hundreds of colleges across the U.S. and Canada about their institution’s sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. Using survey data that covered more than 25 fields, The Princeton Review tallied its “Green Ratings” (scores from 60 to 99) for 832 schools and reported them in the school profiles on the Company’s website and in its college guides in summer 2013. The 332 schools in this guide received scores of 83 or above in that assessment. (Note: The Princeton Review does not rank the schools 1 to 332 or report their Green Rating scores in this book.) Information about the Company’s Green Rating and its “Green Honor Roll” list of 22 schools that received the highest possible score, 99, is at www.princetonreview.com/green.aspx

      About The Princeton Review
      The Princeton Review is a leading test preparation and college admission services company. Every year it helps millions of college- and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals through its test preparation, tutoring, and admissions services, its online resources, and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Random House LLC. The Company delivers its services via a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors in the U.S.A. and Canada, and through its international franchises in 14 other countries. The Company also partners directly with school districts and non-governmental organizations to provide students with college readiness services including college selection, test preparation, financial aid advice, and admissions support. The Princeton Review is headquartered in Natick, MA, and is privately held.  For more information, visit www.princetonreview.com and www.facebook.com/ThePrincetonReview.  Follow the Company’s Twitter feed @ThePrincetonRev

      About the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council
      The Center for Green Schools at USGBC is making sure every student has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation. From kindergarten to college and beyond, the Center works directly with staff, teachers, faculty, students, administrators, elected officials and communities to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable places to live and learn, work and play. For more information, visit centerforgreenschools.org or find us on Twitter and Facebook.

      About the U.S. Green Building Council
      The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit usgbc.org, explore the Green Building Information Gateway (GBIG) and connect on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.


      SOURCE The Princeton Review


      Article source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-princeton-review-releases-5th-annual-free-guide-to-green-colleges-in-partnership-with-the-center-for-green-schools-at-usgbc-255611791.html

      Improving mental health care for children

      Categories: After School Programs
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      Published on: April 17, 2014

      Federal data shows that a smaller percentage of children in the state in need of mental health care get it compared to the national average. Health care professionals say part of the reason for that is a lack of resources, and parents not knowing where to turn for help. Illinois Public Radio’s Sean Powers reports on what’s being done to improve care.

      There’s no silver bullet when it comes to raising a child with mental illness. Just ask Troy and Violet of Rantoul in Champaign County. They’ve asked not to use their last name to protect the privacy of their children. 

      “I’d say we’re still in the middle of the test. We’re still going through question and answer period. You know, multiple choices every day of what to do you do? Something new comes up just about every day, ” says Troy.

      Troy and Violet have both been diagnosed with mental illness, and their 13-year-old son, Andrew, has ADHD, bipolar disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder. He also has a minor form of autism, which is a behavioral condition. Violet says she knew Andrew was smart even at a young age, but she says there were signs of problems. From 2-years-old on, his tantrums didn’t stop.

      “We went to terrible 3’s, to terrible 4’s, to terrible 5’s, and so on, and so on, and so on,” says Violet.

      Andrew loves to draw, and he’s pretty good at it, too. Inside his bedroom, there is a sketch on the wall of his favorite band called Skillet. Violet and Troy say there’s one song in particular that he likes…

      “Oh, he would like the song Monsters. He would always thought of himself a monster because he didn’t understand what he was feeling,” says Violet.

      “He didn’t understand the motions he was feeling inside, so he classified it as the monster inside himself, ” says Troy.

      SONG: “…I must confess that I feel like a monster. I hate what I’ve become…” (fade out)

      Later on, Violet talks to Andrew about the song.

      “What I notice about you Andrew since you don’t listen to that Skillet and some of the music that they have like Monster, that you don’t call yourself a monster. You have not called yourself a monster for a long time,” says Violet.

      “I still do,” says Andrew.

      “You never share it,” says Violet.

      “I don’t have to share it,” says Andrew.

      Violet and Troy say communicating with Andrew can be a challenge. On top of addressing their own mental health needs, Troy says he and his wife are also left with a lot of questions – what medications are the right fit for Andrew, and how to get him the extra help that he needs at school.

      Troy and Violet often struggle, and hope their experience can help others in a similar situation. This year, they began teaching a six-week course for parents and guardians raising a child with a mental illness. It was developed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI. 

       Teri Brister developed the program in 2007, and it’s now being taught in more than three dozen states. She says the class helps parents understand how to navigate through the youth mental health care system. They also learn about the biology of the illnesses, symptoms, and behavioral management.

      Brister says there is no simple solution to raising a child with a mental illness, which is why the class doesn’t just focus on one condition, but many conditions and how those associated symptoms overlap. While every experience is different, Brister says the challenges families face are often the same.

      “To be the caregiver of someone with a mental illness can be overwhelming. On top of the stresses of also being a parent, and most of the time there are other children in the home. So, it’s not uncommon at all to see parents develop their own symptoms of depression and anxiety, even if they didn’t have those before,” says Brister.

      Brister says because of the stigma tied to mental illness, there’s added pressure put on parents.

      “Mental illnesses aren’t casserole illnesses. If someone breaks their leg or has a heart bypass or whatever, the community brings over food, they may come over and mow your yard. If they find out our child has been hospitalized because of emotional disturbances, they don’t know what to say to us,” says Brister.

      The pressures of raising a child with mental illness have led some parents to relinquish control of their kids to DCFS in what’s known as psychiatric lockout. DCFS spokeswoman Karen Hawkins says it’s happening because there’s a lack of community mental health services for children. She says cases in which parents decide to go this route have doubled in the last couple of years.

      “Usually we’re seeing this in cases where the children do require residential mental health services because obviously that’s the most expensive. It’s the most intensive. We’re seeing a lot of cases where the children have become a danger to themselves or to other members of the family, and the family doesn’t know what to do and the family can’t afford the kind of care that’s needed,” says Hawkins.

      Data from the National Survey of Children’s Health shows the percentage of children in Illinois who needed mental health services during the course of a year but didn’t get those services is higher than the national average.

      According to an analysis by the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, there are approximately 83-hundred practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists in the U.S, which the group says isn’t enough to meet the need. Dee Ann Ryan oversees the Vermilion County Mental Health Board. She says mental health services in Illinois need to be more centralized.

      “Often families have no idea where to turn, and our services are so fragmented and siloed and funded siloed that if a family has a problem and they call one agency, they might not fit within their funding guidelines, so they send them off to another agency or another agency and pass the family around until they just get tired and give up,” says Ryan.

      There is a new pilot program in four central Illinois counties that looks at creating a more centralized mental health care system like what Dee Ann Ryan just talked about.

      DCFS contracts with the Indiana-based Choices Program. The way it works is a care coordinator with Choices meets with a child who’s a ward of DCFS and whoever is taking care of that child to put together a blueprint and support team. The blueprint may include getting that child into a foster home, afterschool program, or seeing a therapist.

      Todd Schroll oversees the program in Illinois, and he says by localizing care, there should be less of a burden on the state’s mental health care system.

      “We should be preventing young people from going into higher levels of care if at all possible. They should be stable in homes with the supports that they need, so that they’re not moving between multiple homes within short periods of time or even longer periods of time. We should be creating stable for them in this community by wrapping these services around them,” says Schroll.

      Schroll says the Choices Program will also provide support to families who are in need of services that aren’t Medicaid eligible. His care coordinators are being trained to become culturally competent, so that they can work with children of many different backgrounds. He’s also in talks with Troy and Violet about incorporating their NAMI class as an option for families in need of mental health care training.

      “Here is my son’s bedroom. Zachariah. And as you can tell, it’s a mess,” says Violet.

      Back at Troy and Violet’s home in Rantoul, I get a tour of their youngest son’s bedroom. While their oldest son Andrew has already been diagnosed with several types of mental illness, they say their youngest son, 7-year-old Zachariah, is the only one in the family who hasn’t been diagnosed with a mental illness. But research shows that could change in the next few years.

      Troy says last year, Zachariah began keeping track of his family’s behavior, marking each day of a calendar with different colors –like green for when things are going well or red for where no one in the household who’s getting along.

      “Red days was a very bad day, flare ups, blow ups, from usually the oldest son blowing up over something, and then everybody getting into turmoil in the household over that,” says Troy.

      “It’s not always our son. You know,” says Violet.

      “We do it ourselves. We have our own flare up,” says Troy.

      It’s those moments that not only test them as parents, but also as a family – and reinforces their commitment to help other families dealing with mental illness.

      That story was part of our month-long series, “Unmet Needs: Living with Mental Illness in Central Illinois,” which continues all this month.   

      Article source: http://peoriapublicradio.org/post/improving-mental-health-care-children

      Smithville Empty Bowl Project – Austin American

      Categories: After School Programs
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      Published on: April 17, 2014

      The Smithville Food Pantry, Smithville Community Gardens and Lost Pines Artisans Alliance will join forces to fight hunger during their fourth annual Smithville Empty Bowl Project on April 26.

      The Empty Bowl Project is an international grassroots effort to raise hunger awareness, featuring local artisans and school kids who craft soup bowls and local restaurants that fill those bowls with tasty treats.

      Smithville’s one-day event featuring homemade soups, bread and desserts from local eateries such as the Back Door Cafe, Olde World Bakery, Catering by Chabot, Bistro 71 at Seton Smithville Regional Hospital, Pocket’s Grille and Kay’s Café, will be at Mary Nichols Arts Gallery, 301 Burleson, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

      “I am always amazed at the way people can come together and put on an event for such a good cause and have the entire community pitch in, donate and show up to support the cause,” said Sam Martin, Smithville Food Pantry director. “This is an amazing town in which to live and work.”

      Students from Smithville school district campuses handcrafted clay bowls for the project with materials donated by LPAA.

      “I am making a bowl for someone to eat out of for the Empty Bowl Project,” said fourth grader Keyanna Henderson while molding a bowl during Smithville’s after school program. “I am helping to feed a child like me.”

      On the day of the event, guests can purchase a bowl of their choice for $20, which includes all-you-can-eat soup, bread and desserts.

      While listening to live music and sampling soups, don’t miss healthy cooking demonstrations by MaryAnn Walborg of the Smithville Community Gardens. Informative speakers will also be present to discuss community hunger issues and home gardening tips.

      Proceeds raised from the event will be distributed among the three participating organizations, which will set aside 10 percent of the funds for Angels Unaware – a local program which fights hunger by sending home snack-filled backpacks to deserving school age children.

      For more information about the upcoming event, visit smithvilleemptybowl.com.

      Article source: http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/smithville-empty-bowl-project/nfbkH/

      Benton church keeps kids fed through spring break

      Categories: After School Programs
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      Published on: April 17, 2014

      BENTON — Members of a Benton church are filling a need in the community by filling the bellies of schoolchildren over spring break.

      The First Christian Church is offering its first spring break lunch program for Benton Grade School students who are out of school this week.

      Every day, church volunteers have prepared a hot lunch for students who may otherwise go without, program coordinator Becky Mandrell said.

      “We’re trying to fill a void,” she said. “The kids get two meals a day, breakfast and lunch, at school and we were afraid some of them might not get enough to eat during spring break.”

      The meals, served every day this week but Friday, are free, with all program costs paid for by donations from church members.

      The week started slow but as word spread, more children came to the church on South Main Street to fill up on lunch. The menu changed daily, with offerings such as sloppy joes, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, raw vegetables and dip and fruits.

      “It’s all been really good,” Amy DeWitt said.

      DeWitt brought her son, Gavin, along with six of his friends to the church Wednesday.

      “We’ve come every day since it started and we’ll probably be back tomorrow,” she said. “This makes it easier to feed them, especially when there are so many more mouths to feed.”

      DeWitt said the need in the community is great.

      “Oh, yes. I see a lot of kids who don’t eat much. Food’s just not being provided for them,” she said.

      The need was not hard to spot for those who attend the church — they can look just to the south and see the Benton-West City Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry.

      “We all know the need,” church volunteer and Benton teacher Paula Fuller said. “We can see the lines forming at the food pantry before they open their doors every day.”

      Fuller leads the church’s weekend lunch bag effort for students in grades 5-8; the nearby First Baptist Church takes care of students in grades K-4.

      The 5-8 program sends healthy snacks and convenient foods home with 30 to 35 students before they leave school for the weekend.

      “I know there are a lot of families struggling to put food on the table,” Fuller said.

      The church hopes to offer the hot meal program a few days a week over the summer and is considering providing after-school meals in the fall.

      Article source: http://thesouthern.com/news/local/benton-church-keeps-kids-fed-through-spring-break/article_8079cec6-ce38-56a7-b0e8-aabe14d34a21.html

      Fort Worth City Council candidates differ little on issues

      Categories: After School Programs
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      Published on: April 17, 2014

      Article source: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/04/16/5744335/fort-worth-city-council-candidates.html

      Bible Study After School Ban Overturned as NY Superintendent Reverses Decision

      Categories: After School Programs
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      Published on: April 17, 2014

      37cf8 a boy turns a page of a bible during a mass january 17 2010 Bible Study After School Ban Overturned as NY Superintendent Reverses Decision Bible Study After School Ban Overturned as NY Superintendent Reverses Decision

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      The American Center for Law and Justice has successfully aided students from a New York-area high school in expressing their religious freedom through an after-school Bible study.

      Concerned parents contacted the legal group after learning that the superintendent of an unnamed high school in Amsterdam, N.Y., had told a senior female student that she could not hold her student-led, after-school Bible study club without first purchasing an insurance policy to use the campus after school hours.

      The superintendent made his request of the Bible study club even though other student-led clubs were not required to obtain an insurance policy. After being contacted by concerned parents and students, the ACLJ reportedly provided parents information about “relevant legal principals regarding religious clubs’ access to school facilities,” coming to the conclusion “that the Bible club must be given the same privileges as any other student-led club.”

      “If other student-led clubs are not required to obtain insurance policies, this senior should not be required to obtain one for the Bible club. Upon receiving this information, the school allowed the student to start up her after-school Bible study club,” the ACLJ said in a statement on its website.

      The legal group added that it is “committed to helping protect religious liberty in public schools.”

      Although students at the Amsterdam, N.Y.-based school were able to resolve their conflict without litigation, there have been other cases of parents taking school districts to court over religious liberty issues.

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      Just last week, a family from Nazareth, Pa., filed a lawsuit against their local school district after their son was prevented from passing out Valentine’s Day cards to his classmates that included a religious message. The Alliance Defending Freedom legal group is filing the lawsuit against Nazareth Area School District in Northampton County, Pa., on behalf of Donald and Ellen Abramo, who argue that their first grade son’s religious freedom rights were violated when the incident occurred in February.

      Matt Sharp, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, told the local WFMZ-TV that he finds it “troubling” that other Valentine’s Day cards, such as ones including skulls and weapons, were allowed to be distributed at the school, but the Bible verse card was the “one that’s targeted out and censored.”

      Article source: http://global.christianpost.com/news/ny-superintendent-reverses-decision-allows-students-to-hold-bible-study-after-school-118020/

      New afterschool program launches at Rigby Middle School

      Categories: After School Programs
      Comments: No Comments
      Published on: April 17, 2014

      RIGBY, Idaho –

      At most schools students can’t wait to bolt out the double doors when the bell rings, but at Rigby Middle School that’s changing with a new afterschool program.

      The Rigby Recreational Routes program launched Monday, and it’s already a hit. The program offers several 6-week course for $20-$25 each. Courses include fly casting, fly-tying, lego robot making, and even foreign languages like Russian, German and French.

      First-year teacher Riley Kurtz helped mold the program. He teaches intro to guitar, Russian and entrepreneurship.

      “We were thinking what if this thing flops, what if nobody signs up for it?” said Kurtz. “We are honestly amazed by the buzz that exists in the school.”

      He hopes the program will give kids a place to stay after school, and also explore different topics.

      “A lot of times school kind of forces learning on the children, but we wanted to give the kids an opportunity to choose the class that would interest them.”

      Principal Sherry Simmons credits the enthusiasm of her teachers.

      “There’s such a variety and the teachers have such talents,” said Simmons. “So, it’s just great for them to share them with the kids.”

      Alexandra Monson, an english teacher, is offering a zumba course.

      “I remember having just so much fun doing zumba in college, so I figured I’d do that,” said Monson.

      Math teacher David Crasper offer’s a lip-synching course called “Be a Star.” He said the courses are a great opportunity for both students and teachers.

      “They think all we do is school stuff,” said Crasper. “You know, I don’t sit at home and do math for fun, so it gives us an opportunity to show that side of us too.”

      The courses are actually available to any student 10-18 years old, regardless of district. In the future, Rigby Middle School might even make the courses available to the community.

      If you’d like to take a look at the courses you can find them at: rm.jeffersonsd251.org/rcubed

      Article source: http://www.localnews8.com/news/new-afterschool-program-launches-at-rigby-middle-school/25524726

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        Welcome , today is Thursday, April 17, 2014