Expanding their reach to include not only students at Milford Central Academy (MCA) but also Milford High School (MHS), the Delaware Communities In Schools (CIS) program is seeing increasing benefits for students as they continue their third year with the Milford School District. A comprehensive class and after-school program for selected MCA and MHS students, the program aims to support students by involvement in their academic and social lives. Keenon Mann, CIS Program Director, and Jennifer Bosic, CIS Site Director, have been growing the program from the ground up for the last several months.
“Since we are a non-traditional classroom we are able to have very candid and honest conversations with our students,” commented Mann. “We can discuss what is going on academically but also at home and among their classmates and peers. The relationships we build with the students help build a productive and positive environment.”
The in-school classroom program located at the Milford Central Academy teaches sixth, seventh and eighth graders students, split by gender, life skills, proper decision making and how to build positive relationships. Over the last two months the class size has grown to include 40 male and 40 female students, which will rotate into and out of the program three times per year. Between the ages of twelve and fourteen years of age, these years can be not only difficult academically for students but also formidable years for teachers to instill core societal values.
In addition to a formal class teaching life skills, CIS teachers also provides one-on-one consulting for students as well as behavioral and counseling support. “At this age we talk about decision making throughout their day including how they engage with teachers and other students,” commented CIS Site Director Jennifer Bosic. “They discuss how to deal with anger and how to make good decision on a constant basis.”
The sixteen-week after-school program, which is held at both the Central Academy and High School, convenes three times per week and is divided into three components. The academic enrichment section focuses on homework help, DCAS preparation, and tutoring. “We have several teachers saying to us that they have noticed a differnce in the students that are involved with Communities In Schools,” commented CIS Program Director Keenon Mann. “Students are doing their homework more often and performing better academically.”
The second after-school program component prepares students for success as they move into adulthood including how to prepare for college or a career, entrepreneurship, bullying prevention and community-based social involvement. The final priority for the program is to connect students to extra-curricular, enriching activities with community partners.
“As we move forward I would like to see some of our students that came to us with little hope, accomplish academic and social success,” stated Mann. “There is a lot of possibility in these students and you can see them wanting to succeed.”
For students involved in the during and after-school programs there is no cost to families and transportation, meals, and all fees are waived for participants. The grant for both programs is made possible by support and funding from 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Individuals interested in attending either program or to find out more information are encouraged to contact Program Director Kennon Man at firstname.lastname@example.org or Site Director Jennifer Bostic at email@example.com.