RIPLEY – South Tippah and Alcorn County school districts are sharing a $1.8 million federal grant to identify and assist help students in grades 1 through 6 who are having trouble meeting academic standards in language, reading and math. The two districts have formed the 21st Century Grant Consortium to split the proceeds of a five-year federal grant, which requires no matching funds, Consortium Director Arnold Witt said this week. The teachers and teacher assistants help about 100 youngsters at Ripley Elementary, Ripley Middle, Pine Grove and Blue Mountain Monday through Thursday from 3-5:30 p.m. The goal is to raise the current number of students number to about 150 students, divided in classes of 12-15 students per teacher. This grant also provides financial support for the Boys&Girls Club that operates at Ripley Elementary School.. Students and teachers hold class at each school. Snacks for each child are provided. Parents pick their youngsters up each day after the program. The program began the week before Thanksgiving. It is designed to run throughout the school year, as well as four hours daily Monday through Friday for four weeks in June. "MCT-2 test results, current school year grades and teacher recommendations are all used to identify youngsters who need help. Parental consent is also required for participation in the program. "The goal is to help the students with academic skills and homework, and to hopefully get them back on track and caught up in skills they haven’t mastered," Witt said this week. He added that the studies help not only students, but parents who find that school work has grown so complex that they can longer help with homework. "Some parents have discovered that it’s hard to help their children with homework. They’re learning that things aren’t as simple as when they went to school," Witt concluded. For more information about the program, contact Witt at 837-3677 or through any of the schools.
Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel