A Review of our 2015-2016 CASE Program by Jeff Sherrod, Hopewell Site Coordinator
GOD has officially wrapped up it’s second year of C.A.S.E., our after school program for students at DuPont Hadley Middle Prep. Over the past two years, we have met some wonderful staff at DuPont Hadley, the Nashville Public Library who oversees over a hundred after school programs in Nashville, and other after school providers. Most importantly, we have had the opportunity work with some very special middle schoolers.
It is during these formative middle school years when students decide if they are going to take school seriously and work hard, or take the easy route and not invest into their education. Johns Hopkins researcher Dr. Robert Balfanz has recognized a special "middle school moment" during which it is crucial for intensive support to occur, otherwise, it becomes much harder to “turn kids around and put them back on track.” According to his study, In high-poverty schools, if a sixth grade child attends less than 80 percent of the time, receives an unsatisfactory behavior grade in a core course, or fails math or English, there is a 75 percent chance that they will later drop out of high school — absent effective intervention.
Part of our goal at C.A.S.E. is to help students make good decisions that will follow them the rest of their lives. Students are awarded with a sense of accomplishment when they make a decision to do their homework and do it well. They are proud when they make a decision to deal with conflict with kindness instead of aggression.
The kids of C.A.S.E. have made great decisions this year. Many students went from never doing their homework to faithfully completing all of their assignments, every day. As we worked with students to help them consistently finish their homework, they built momentum and wanted to finish their work. At one point, a student who had already finished an assignment started to give an answer to another student who replied, “Don’t tell me, I want to figure this out on my own, I have to learn how to do this myself.” I smiled.
C.A.S.E. has become an important part of many of these kids' lives. It a place where they can make meaningful relationships, learn new skills, finish their homework, read a book, play a game, and laugh. We are both privileged to offer this program, and proud of all of the kids who attended!