Park Pilots After School Enrichment Program

Park Pilots After School Enrichment Program
Posted on 10/26/2018
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Park Magnet is offering two sessions of a pilot IncredIBles After School Enrichment Program this October - December and again January - March. The IncredIBles program is intended to offer non-traditional teaching methods and student experiences to further challenge students in reading, writing, and math. This is different from after school tutoring and even the intervention classes offered during normal school hours, which are usually intended to improve skills that may be causing students to fall behind established standards. Student enrichment allows teachers to offer creative, hands-on, and oftentimes personalized activities that they do not have time for during a normal day in the classroom. Why the name “IncredIBles” for this program? … this was chosen to remind our staff how “incredible” they are in influencing the lives of our wonderful students, and to call attention to our renowned International Baccalaureate (IB) program.


45 students were chosen for each session by random selection (staff members drew names) from names of those that applied. The 45 students from kindergarten - 5th grade are divided into three mixed grade level classes per session. They meet every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoon until 4:30. Students receive a snack and recess until 3:30 to provide a break between regular school hours and enrichment program hours. The program is free to all participating students.


The program is taught in an entirely inquiry-based format - which means instructors create an environment of active learning that begins with asking questions or presenting challenges/scenarios to students, as opposed to presenting established facts.  An inquiry-based format also includes student-led learning, critical thinking, teamwork, and various group activities. Because students are mixed in age groups, learning levels, and aptitudes, the group work will be more challenging than students are used to. During the six classes to be offered in the program (3 during each session) students will be inquiring about one of our six transdisciplinary themes at Park Magnet, which include: Who We Are, Sharing the Planet, Where We are in Place and Time, How We Organize Ourselves, How We Express Ourselves, and How the World Works.  Examples of themes for applying these Units of Inquiry include “Heroes from Around the World,” offered by Mrs. Ratcliff; “Historic Methods of Communication Around the World,” offered by Mrs. Aldridge; and “Storytelling Forms and Methods,” offered by Ms. Patrico.


“Our goal is to expand learning opportunities for our students by using unique and creative teaching methods and challenging students to work in groups of different ages and ability levels. These are not options for them during a normal day in the classroom,” says Park Kindergarten Teacher and IB PYP Coordinator Kristal Brandon. “We are excited to see how this new offering takes our students to a different level of collaboration and critical thinking together. Each one of our students has so much to offer in their own special way. This program will allow our educators to identify individual talents and offer a more personalized learning experience in classrooms.”


In the past, Park Magnet has offered a highly celebrated four-day summer enrichment program. Staff is hopeful that if the IncredIBles pilot program is as successful, that it will also become an annual offering for student enrichment. Learn more about our #HSSD Park Magnet World IB School, here.