School program to help youngsters

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Dorothy Vannest, representing the East Central Ohio Educational Service Center After School Achievement Program, addressed county commissioners to discuss what the program can offer young students.

As part of the After School Achievement Program, a 21st Century grant initiative, the program is available free to Belmont County students in grades 6-8. The program focuses on helping students to meet Ohio state requirements in math and reading. Instruction is based on a computer curriculum for students in direct alignment with Ohio Content Standards. Certified teachers will teach all classes.

The classes will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 28 South Marietta St., St. Clairsville.

Vannest added that this year, they will again not be charging a fee.

They follow St. Clairsville City Schools operational calendar and are funded by a five-year grant.

Additional activities include homework help time, activities and small group work on SmartBoard and iPads. ECOESC along with partner agencies that include the St. Clairsville Public Library, Belmont College and Ohio University Eastern Campus, all of which play a significant role in the success of a student.

“Because our numbers are down, we are taking anyone who needs homework help or needs a safe place to go after school,” she said. “We offer a safe place for this age group.”

Vannest noted one problem facing the school districts is transportation to the site in the afternoon.

“Financially, they’re strapped for their cash also, plus the fact that they do not have many substitute bus drivers,” she said, adding that St. Clairsville’s busing route goes past their site, allowing those students to attend without difficulty. She is interested in working with the county to hopefully obtain transportation.

Their philosophy is “Helping Schools Help Children.” They are supported by Local Education Agencies in the ECOESC. They continue to discuss student and family needs and options that would address cultural disadvantages of the rural, Appalachian economic region. Goals include 100 percent passage on all high stakes reading and math assessments, professional development that leads to high student achievement, the provision of safe, drug-free schools, and high family and community involvement.

Parents who believe their child could benefit from this program are encouraged to contact their home school or the ECOESC to receive a registration form. For additional registration information or to ask questions regarding the program, call Vannest at (740) 695-9773, Ext. 8401.

There may be a waiting list for some classes. Parents may bring students to a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday session, held 2:30-5:30 p.m.

DeFrank can be reached at