SOAR Program Update b February 2010

After just 1 month of operation, The Communities In Schools SOAR After School Program at Southern Middle School (SMS) has reached 50% of its maximum enrollment and has seen an average daily attendance of 83%.B SOAR is an acronym for Success through Opportunity, Academics and Recreation.B The bAb is also interchangeable with bArtsb because there is a very pronounced fine arts aspect to the program, fostered by Program Director Janet Kenworthy, who is also the founder of The Roosterbs Wife in Aberdeen.

The programbs first week started January 11th with a strong base of last yearbs SOAR students.B This year the program does not include 5th graders and students are not transported off site to attend.B There are three classrooms at SMS that are used for the program, as well as the multipurpose room and gymnasium.B Students also spend a good deal of time outdoors when weather permits.B Healthy eating is still a key component of the program and students are given a snack prior to the start of any formal programming for the day.

The students have enjoyed a variety of great guest bteachersb including Yoga instructor Ashley Smithson, story teller Lousie Kessler, Hip-Hop Dance instructor Dana Preshous and more.B They sent postcards to students in Thailand, made backgammon boards and learned how to play, and learned Sign Language. They also learned the art of film making and that you donbt have to be bgrown upb to do it as they watched short films created by filmmakers age 12-22.

Teachers have been very supportive and forward their lesson plans to the SOAR staff each week.B All 6th graders are expected to have 30 minutes of reading time each day.B Each staff member works in the subject areas they are strongest in with students who need extra help on homework.B B Behavior is handled with a 3 strike policy, and all students are encouraged to attend regularly and participate consistently.B Students come to realize that once they try something, they might actually like it.