On Monday, November 28, all Communities In Schools 21st Century Community Learning Center students at Peters Colony Elementary School were officially enrolled into Club 21 University! On the first day or "Orientation Day," an introduction to the various types of college (such as Community College, University, College, etc.) and the various types of degrees (i.e., Associates, Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral). Students also discussed the majors they chose which depended on their career choice.
Each Club 21 team created their own college name, which ranged from Cool Cats College to Facebook College. During days 2 & 3 (or "Admissions" & "College Prep"), students created an Admissions Packet, College Application and Graduation Regalia.
On Thursday, December 1, all present Club 21 University students graduated from their affiliated college. A valedictorian and salutatorian were chosen for each college based on behavior and leadership. A traditional processional with college banners and graduation regalia created a unique environment that parents and Club 21 students truly enjoyed!
To end College Week successfully, Club 21 students attended the University of North Texas vs. Middle Tennessee football game in the brand new UNT football stadium - giving students a small glimpse of College Life! Thank you UNT for donating tickets to our program - it is a great addition to our College Week!
Here are some sobering statistics about fatherless homes:
Men who mentor or teach a child have a profound impact on a child's life.
The Communities In Schools of North Texas afterschool "A.C.E." program at Lakeland Elementary in Lewisville ISD has seen just that. At the beginning of the school year we started with four female teachers. We have several young men in our program who come from fatherless homes and are raised by single mothers. In several of these children we have seen behavioral problems such as anger, name calling, blatantly being disrespectful to teachers and classmates, low self-esteem, theft, and fighting. One such young man has even been in trouble several times with the police at the age of 8. The day I met "Dylan" he was ignoring his teachers instructions, turning circles in line down the hall way and telling other kids to "shut up." He went into shut down mode, and anytime I tried talking to him he would ignore my questions or attempts to make conversation and say, "I hate A.C.E. I want to go home." Dylan's behavior did not improve and we had to ask mom to come and pick him up. Dylan needed the A.C.E program and his A.C.E. teachers, classroom teacher, and principal wanted him to succeed. I did not see Dylan for two months after that week because he refused to come to program or he would spend all his time trying to get kicked out.
Enter Marcellus Mayberry.
Marcellus Mayberry is a young man from Chicago who went to school in Mississippi. He is currently working toward his Masters in Genetics at the University of North Texas and would eventually like to teach at the high school or college level. Marcellus has a passion for working with at-risk youth. The day Marcellus stepped on our campus the entire program knew he was there. I had told one boy who came to get a backpack from me earlier that morning about Mr. Mayberry. On their way to the A.C.E. program, I caught the older boys brusquely walking (some running) down the hallways to ask if "He" was here. It was also on this very same day when I was overseeing dismissal, I heard a voice call, "MISS! MISS! My name is not on the bus list and I'm supposed to ride it home!" I looked up and to my surprise, it was Dylan. Tears welled up in my eyes as I heard the story. Apparently, Dylan saw Mr. Mayberry in the hallway and it was that moment he decided to give the A.C.E. program a try.
In the two weeks Marcellus has been with our program our boys have done a complete 180. They have manners and hold the door for one another. They have a secret handshake that only they know. They laugh; give each other high fives and encouragement. They follow directions and the behavior problems have dwindled down to next to nothing. Everyday my 4th and 5th grade boys want to know whose class Mr. Mayberry will be in that day and which group he will be with in tutoring. Dylan attends regularly. He still has some of the same characteristics as before, but we are slowly seeing a change with a gentle touch and some firm redirection from Mr. Mayberry. Dylan had even begun to listen and responds well to Mr. Mayberry's female counterparts. Men who mentor or teach a child have a profound impact on a child's life and it has never been more apparent to me as it has with a young man by the name of Mr. Mayberry.
If you would like to become a mentor or know someone who you think would make a great mentor, please complete our online volunteer application. Click here to learn more.
Nicole Scott, Site Coordinator at Ginnings Elementary in the Denton Independent School District, writes about how a student struggling in math has overcome his obstacles with the help of a tutor.
Cole is a student in the Communities In Schools of North Texas 21st Century Community Learning Center after school program. He started attending the program in August. After speaking to his mother about some behavior issues he was having, she brought to my attention that Cole was struggling with his math work. His grade was not up to the standards she has for Cole and I let her know that Cole would start going right away with our wonderful tutor, Ms. Macaulay, for some extra help in math.
At first Cole did not like this idea. He was not happy to have to leave his after school room every day to go with Ms. Macaulay to work on his math workbook. He would try to come up with creative excuses as to why he couldn't go to tutoring that day and sometimes he just flat out told her he didn't want to go and this was not helping him. We did not let him get out of tutoring and Ms. Macaulay has been consistently working with Cole for about 2 months now.
When report cards came out, I was anxious to see Cole's math grade. I was so pleased to see that it had gone from a C to an A, and I am so proud of the progress Cole is making. He now understands how helpful tutoring has been and will continue to be. His mom was so happy when she received his grades, and she let me know how thankful she was for Communities In Schools and Ms. Macaulay helping Cole with math.
In the short amount of time I have had to get to know Cole I have seen so many positive changes. His behavior has improved so much and I have not had to talk to him or his mom about it. I have also seen a boost in his confidence, as well as his grades. I could tell he was proud of himself for earning an A in math for the second 6 weeks. He is doing so well in the afterschool program, and I can't wait to see more great improvements from Cole!
Patricia Hernandez, Communities In Schools of North Texas Site Coordinator, describes how her campus gives back to the community.
November 1st to November 15th marked the 4th Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive at Hedrick Elementary in the Lewisville Independent School District. Each year, our donation benefits Christian Community Action's (CCA) food pantry.
Hedrick Elementary school counselors, the Communities In Schools case managed program and the Communities In Schools 21st Century afterschool program worked together to encourage students to bring in as much Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix as possible. Each afternoon, selected students from the 21st Century afterschool program gathered donations from each classroom. This was a great and fun opportunity for us to incorporate math lessons. The students learned about sorting, addition, multiplication and graphing the results.
This is the first year that Lewisville ISD has been involved in the food drive, offering 2 points for every item collected. The school with the most points will receive a surprise award.
At the end of the two week period, Hedrick Elementary collected 4,870 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix! This is triple the amount that was collected last year.
Through the LISD contest, Hedrick Elementary earned 9, 740 points. Winners of that point system are yet to be announced. Through Hedrick's own prize system, the top 3 classes will all receive a pizza party and/or coupons for local restaurants.
The best part of the entire event is that many of Hedrick Elementary students will benefit from CCA's food pantry. Hedrick is a Title I school with over 85% of our students identified as economically disadvantaged. Our students learned a valuable lesson in being model citizens by giving back to their community.
Adam Aldridge brags on a University of North Texas volunteer who went beyond her class requirements to be a positive influence as a mentor to a student at Chisholm Trail Middle School in the Northwest Independent School District.
Shelby Riley started this year as a class-required 15-hour volunteer from the University of North Texas. At her first meeting with me, she expressed interest in becoming a mentor, and I told her that I like to have a longer commitment before I match her with a student because I didn't want the relationship to dissolve once a mentor meets their class requirements of volunteering for 15 hours. She immediately told me that she would definitely be around for the long haul and really wanted to be a mentor. I had the perfect student in mind already and set up the first meeting for Shelby's next visit.
During Shelby's next visit, I gave her a brief background on her student and some of the behavior issues her teaches and I had been seeing. Shelby seemed a little nervous but up for the challenge. I brought the student to my office. I introduced them to each other and the mentee didn't say much. Shelby started asking her some questions and her student would reply back with 1-word answers. After a few minutes I gave them some games to play and left them alone to talk. I came back at the end of the meeting time and let them say goodbye to each other. Shelby told her mentee that she would see her next week at the same time.
As I walked Shelby out, I asked her how it went and she said her mentee didn't say much. At the end of the school day her mentee came up to me and told me she really liked Miss Shelby and couldn't wait for her to come back. They've met together 8 times now and they are really building a good relationship. They play games, do homework, eat lunch, and talk together for an hour once every week. Her mentee still has room to grow, but the teachers are definitely starting to see some improvement in her behavior and grades thanks to her time with Miss Shelby.