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J.H. Hines' Success Makers Aim To Do Just That

Nov. 15, 2010

J.H. Hines' reading program

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Someone at J.H. Hines Elementary School is moving up a grade, and it's not even the end of the year. The sound of bells ringing down the hallway and the sight of administrators marching into a room with flowers and leis around their necks tip off students that something special is about to happen. A student might not be moving up a physical grade--it is only November after all. But while it is only November, someone has seen a year's worth of improvement.

Fifth grader Roman Rodriguez started the year behind in math. But as he's worked through the Success Maker program at J.H. Hines, he's improved by a full grade level. Community volunteers working with students was identified as a key area of need in Waco during the first education summit two years ago. And the Success Maker program, says coordinator Lily Oubre, is an example of a need being filled, with Roman Rodriguez being one of the beneficiaries.

The program is one that various schools can use, designed by the makers of the TAKS test. Students work on projects designed to help them learn at computers various times during the day. But J.H. Hines is taking it further. The volunteers come in and work with the students in the areas they need improvement after school, in tandem with the after school reading program put on by the Greater Waco Education Alliance.

Lily Oubre pours over printouts of data on a daily basis. These printouts allow her to see exactly where the students are testing at. Looking at the data regularly affords them the opportunity to see what's working, what isn't, and what needs to be done in advance of the TAKS test. The data helps their volunteers know where they need to be focusing with their students. It also allows for a targeted experience for each student, who are kept in the loop along with their teachers as to where they stand.

So far, the results are positive signs for a district that finds itself lagging behind. Waco ISD's numbers don't stack up well with other schools in the state, so programs like these are viewed as vital to helping students who are already behind find a way to catch up to their peers. We'll continue looking at the Greater Waco Educatinon Summit throughout the week here on 103.3 fm; you can see yesterday's story about the Best Practices Reading Program online at kwbu.org/news. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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