Education

Published on July 23rd, 2018 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Unique literacy program gives School District Five students creative opportunities to learn

IRMO – Students in summer school at Lexington-Richland School District Five are finding ways to make learning fun.

The 360 Literacy program, created in October 2016, serves students who need academic enrichment and support. The program is designed to implement research-based instructional strategies to assist students in accelerating learning and progression toward secondary and post-secondary educational opportunities.

“In my mindset being an educator for over 20 years, 360 Literacy means a student who is well-rounded with character,” said Shirpolle Peniston-Blair, 360 Literacy program coordinator and teacher at Irmo High School. “Well-rounded meaning ‘I may not have the answer for everything, but I was born with a multiple intelligence and I’m going to take it and run with it.’”

360 Literacy is a year-round program that is funded by a federal grant received through the S.C. Department of Education. The grant supports transportation, breakfast and lunch to be provided to students in summer school.

The program runs Monday through Thursday in the summer and offers credit recovery opportunities, academic and enrichment practices, and formal instructional strategies and methods. The goals of the program are to meet or exceed state and local academic achievement standards in Language Arts and Math, to enable students to raise SAT/ACT scores, sharpen math, verbal and writing skills on all tests and assessments, show improvement in school attendance, adherences to school rules and guidelines and social responsibility, and demonstrate improved work ethic in all classes.

“Our students are worth whatever it takes,” Peniston-Blair said.

Irmo High School rising sophomore Jacob Henderson is in his first year of 360 Literacy and said the unique offerings have changed his mind set about wanting to perform well in the classroom.

“This program is very exciting to me because it’s different than a normal summer school,” Henderson said. “There are other offerings than just sitting down and earning your credits. It’s great to hang out with other people and participate in activities we enjoy.”

In addition to working on earning credits, students like Henderson have enrichment practices to participate in such as cooking classes, dance, fashion design, engineering, music, golf, graphic design and more.

“Signs of growth are when students can come in and request their weaknesses,” Peniston-Blair said. “When they reach out to us and ask for help on their homework, that is what we want to see. We want them to identify their strengths and weaknesses. That will show them their character and allow them find their confidence in the fact that they may have a weakness, but so does everyone else.”

 

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