'Carnegie Can' after-school program offers variety of subjects to grab students' attention
Elaine Surma stood at the front of the Carnegie Elementary library last week and posed a simple question.
“What drugs can you name?” she asked a group of about 15 students.
A few raised their hands, with one girl responding, “Coke.” When Surma asked the girl if she knew anything about cocaine, she got a “no” in response.
“I'm glad to hear that,” said Surma, a senior supervisory special agent for the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. “That's very encouraging for me.”
Surma spoke to a group of fifth-through eighth-graders last week about the dangers of drugs as part of Carlynton School District's “Carnegie Can” after-school program.
“These kids are in the forefront every day,” said Surma, who speaks at schools throughout the state. “They need to know what they're up against.”
“Carnegie Can” is in its first year at Carlynton after the district secured a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant over the summer. The state grant will provide the district with $108,000 per year for three years to fund the after-school program.
The program, which was designed to reach students in need of academic or other out-of-school assistance, averages about 30 students per day, said Lee Myford, director of pupil services.
The district's grant application called for 90 students, and the district needs to reach 80 percent of that number by the end of the year.
While the program started out on an invitation basis, Myford is expanding it to allow for other interested students.
“As I explained to the staff, we're flying the airplane as we're building it,” she said.
“We're making adjustments as we're going along because we want to make it the best program we can for students.”
For example, Myford said, instead of doing an extra hour of instruction in reading and math, as the application originally called for, the program was adjusted to allow for tutoring and homework completion.
Each day also includes a physical education and reading component, as well. Exploratory opportunities include a newspaper club, visits from people such as Surma and representatives of Junior Achievement and more.
The program also partnered with LabRatz Science Club for a once-a-week session where students learn science lessons through experiments.
At the first session last week, students learned about surface tension through two experiments: Making paper clips float in cups of water, and blowing soap bubbles in the water.
District officials are targeting crucial assessment subjects such as math, reading and science, but they're doing it through egg drops and bridge building, as well as book clubs and the partnership with LabRatz.
“When we wrote the grant, we were choosing to focus on the curriculum that we thought would be most useful for the future,” Myford said. “Really, the idea was high school dropout prevention. The big picture is preventing high school dropouts, so that's what we need.”
Myford said the students are already showing improvement in attendance, and she's interested in seeing how their testing has been affected as well.
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-8527 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Smith: South Fayette teacher to lead music education group
- Oyler: A trip down memory lane with the Waynesburg & Washington Railroad
- Around Town: Char Valley grad named aquatics director at center
- Town Talk: South Fayette couple welcomes a boy to the family
- South Fayette VFW sending care packages overseas