Students ‘Bounce into Bascom’

LEAVITTSBURG — With a new school year set to start this month, several area schools have held special summer programs to help prepare students .

In LaBrae Local Schools, three programs have been offered thanks to help from the United Way of Trumbull County and area foundations.

Bascom Elementary Principal Maggie Kowach said the “Bounce into Bascom” program, which is in its fourth year, provides academic intervention, social skills and school preparation skills to 30 five-year-old children entering kindergarten.

“This is a group of students starting school here who may not have had preschool or may not have had exposure to social skills with other students, or may be shy. This three-week program gives them a little warm-up to what they will experience in kindergarten,” Kowach said.

She said students selected for the program learn letter identification, name writing and fine motor skills.

Making the program possible was a private donation and a $2,686 grant from the Kennedy Family Fund of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, which covers transportation costs for the summer program and two other programs at the school.

Also offered is “ABC Reading Ready” for 14 first-graders and “Ready Set Go” for 15 third-graders. Both are two-week programs offered by United Way.

Ginny Pasha, president of the United Way, said the programs are a great continuum starting with pre-kindergarten and then moving to ABC Reading Ready for first graders and Ready Set Go for third graders.

“We are all working together as part of the continuum so the children are where they need to be,” she said.

Pasha said Warren City School District has a similar program in all four of its PK-8 schools.

“These children need just a little extra. These programs help with summer reading loss. The children in LaBrae get two weeks of intervention and then start school,” Pasha said.

Kowach said children take both a pre-test and post-test that show what growth takes place after the intervention period. She said they show improvement in writing and letter identification.

“The kindergarten children are more excited about going to school and feel more comfortable riding the bus and of the classroom routine. The children get to know the teachers and the building,” she said.

Pasha said across all programs, there is a 79 percent average growth in what the students learn and retain.

Stephanie Ratliff, a Bascom kindergarten teacher, said some of the students she has in the Bounce into Bascom may be in her class for the school year.

“The children become familiar with the school day routine. They become comfortable in the classroom. This gives them a little head start to what will take place in school,” she said.