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School Exchanges Computer Lessons for Classroom Volunteers
posted by: Ruthie | July 29, 2013, 04:12 PM   

Orchard Knob Middle School in Chattanooga, Tennessee has been struggling in recent years. Serving a predominantly minority population, many students were on free and reduced lunch programs, the teacher-student-ratio was inadequate, and positive adult influences were lacking. School leaders assessed that they needed volunteers and community involvement in order to improve school culture and positively impact students.

The middle school started a new initiative, providing computer classes to seniors in exchange for involvement in the school. The program will be paramount in changing the school for the better and providing additional positive influences for students.

"We know it takes the whole community," said Principal Crystal Sorrells.

The classes are funded by a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. They teach the basic components of computers, and how to use popular programs, such as Microsoft Word and Excel.

"We had to go real basic. We had two that were scared to even touch the mouse," said the school's computer technician and the courses teacher, Tre High.

"I didn't even know how to turn it on before I came here," said one community volunteer. "I think I'm going to need a little more help," added John Kilpatrick, and 82 year old student. "I'm kind of a slow learner, and I'm no spring chicken."

Orchard Knob also plans to provide resources for families, including finance classes and GED courses, in order to help parents. Similar programs are becoming increasingly available to parents in many low-income, minority communities. English classes, parenting classes, and childcare are just of the few options to help parents succeed, and in turn help students.

What do you think about Orchard Knob's program? Do you think your school could benefit from such a program?
Comment below.


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