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July 29, 2005 Extra Credit
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July 29, 2005

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NCLB After-School Grant Helps Kids LEAP Ahead

The following article, written by LEAP tutor J.G. Perkins, appeared in the South Bend Tribune (7-27):

"In the South Bend Community School Corp. there is a Title I after-school program known by the acronym LEAP, officially the Literacy Enrichment After-school Program. It is funded by a grant under the No Child Left Behind Act.

"LEAP is carried out in several primary centers where there are students who need a boost in reading skills to reach their grade level. Without this boost, these children are at great risk to be left behind their peers. It is likely that most of the general public is unaware of this critical cog in South Bend's instruction portfolio; so this comes from a LEAP tutor as a firsthand report of how the program works and the progress LEAP-enrolled students have achieved in not being left behind!….

"To succeed, a tutor must be endeared to the idea of helping young people. Dedication, motivation and patience are required to perform adequately in the LEAP setting. I was assigned to Madison Primary Center along with nine other tutors. The LEAP program starts when regular classroom periods end Monday through Thursday afternoons. Each tutor is assigned several students and is responsible for them for the next 2 1/2 hours….

"Reading skills come from tutors reading aloud followed by questions, some oral and some written, which are designed to test the students' comprehension, spelling and grammar. Some of the work by students is written. Oral questions challenge students' pronunciation and vocabulary, as well as comprehension.

"As the semester progresses, so does the degree of difficulty in books utilized. The primary centers have book rooms full of books catalogued by reading level/degree of difficulty, and by topics such as science, adventure, animals and children. The tutors' objective is to advance students from one reading level to another, eventually reaching or surpassing each student's grade level.

"While the following recorded progress was achieved the past school year at Madison, it typifies LEAP progress among the several school corporation primary centers where LEAP programs are carried out: ...Of the 50 students remaining, 33 reached grade level reading or higher; 15 advanced three reading levels although falling just short of achieving grade level. Of those 15 students, 12 are in special education, so advancing three reading levels is quite good.

"This record of achievement was accomplished with a caring and competent LEAP coordinator and a group of dedicated tutors, all qualified and determined to bring students up to appropriate reading levels. This record stands as a feather in the school corporation's cap, showing good stewardship of the grant's funding for the purpose intended….

"Two years of substantial, measurable progress under the present LEAP program seems to indicate the wisdom of continuing it under its present configuration to benefit the students it assists, and to enhance the school corporation's mission of educating our youth and leaving no child behind!"

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Last Modified: 08/31/2007