Heart 4 Schools Testimonial: Ashley River Baptist Church
Submitted by Larry Rice, Ashley River Baptist Church
After contacting a school to partner with, three of us visited the principal and she was glad to see us. We told her what we were thinking and I asked her, “What keeps you awake at night?” She replied with “the kids on the bubble.” Those kids needed just a little help to be able to read at grade level, but they didn’t have anyone to provide that extra help. My thought was, “Ashley River Baptist Church has people who could do that.” We left that meeting knowing that God’s plan was for us to work at that school.
St. Andrew’s Math and Science School is a partial magnet school, with about 30% of the children enrolled in the magnet school and the remainder attending from the surrounding community.
The Principal, Reading Coach and staff members came up with a remarkable plan. From 8:45am to 9:15am, our team of 17 volunteers were to help 2nd graders with their reading Tuesday through Thursday. This was called “Team Time.” Our volunteers were granted 30 minutes each day with those students, which totals an hour and thirty minutes of reading each week. During this time, each student received assistance from three different volunteers who utilized various teaching methods.
The 2nd grade teachers were thrilled to have us work with their students. From August to January, our students improved the scores on the MAP test from 7 to 20 points. For Christmas, our students received a book and a few other small gifts, while each teacher received a Christmas card and a book for their classroom.
We didn’t begin our reading program until after Thanksgiving, but plan to work with more students and begin much earlier next year. Our volunteers are ready to go back and miss “their kids.” We are making plans now to enroll more volunteers and we hope to have more opportunities to serve next year.
It was a great joy for me personally, serving as team leader of this enthusiastic mission group. This first year was to “try out the waters,” but next year we will see how else we can help the school.