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J.H. Hines Examines Programs Designed To Help Students Catch Up

May 23, 2011

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Archie Hatten, principal of J.H. Hines Elementary, is speaking of the results of a Greater Waco Community Education Alliance Reading Program that has been a constant at his school since it began it's second year last fall. Similarly, a Success Maker program focusing on subjects like math and science has helped students and the school reap the benefits of months work of labor. Every day after school, students in the reading program receive individualized instruction from volunteers following a specifically-crafted program to help these students recognize words, formulate sounds, and comprehend what they're reading.

That was a J.H. Hines student named Desiree working with her mentor Emily Hart, a student at Baylor. Emily, and other volunteers work to ensure not just that their students sound out what they're reading, but that that they follow the story and comprehend what they're taking in.

A community effort that began last school year and continued in 2010-2011 has involved dozens of people from the community, including says Mr. Hatten, some local celebrities.

Roman Rodriguez has been working with Baylor president Ken Starr throughout the year, and had seen a grade level jump in his math ability when we visited during the winter. And many students have seen a jump. But as a new superintendent in Bonny Cain comes to Waco, administrators know that every program needs to be examined to see where and if it fills in. Instructional Specialist Lily Oubre oversees such programs at J.H. Hines, and she pours over the data multiple times a day, looking to see if students like Rodriguez are making consistent gains.

The results seen by that student are certainly well above average. Having well-known tutors like Judge and Mrs. Alice Starr can't hurt. But many other students are seeing positive results. Lily Oubre says that this outside tutoring is designed to have a positive impact both in and out of the class. It aims to help teachers avoid spending classroom time helping slower students catch up. Because they're catching up outside of class.

There is still some time left on the school year, and the TAKS scores aren't all in. But adminstrators and volunteers at J.H. Hines believe the work they are doing is paying off, and they have numbers to back it up. We'll continue our look at this year's reading, math, and science programs in part two of this story tomorrow here on 103.3fm. Prior stories on education and J.H. Hines Elementary can be found at kwbu.org/news. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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