Operation R.E.A.C.H.

Gloryland Educational Resource Center, Inc. is located at 2575 Michelli Drive in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  We serve as lead agency and host site for training facility for young people to bring up their reading and educational skills.  Our theme for the annual summer enrichment program is Operation R.E.A.C.H.  REACH is the acronym that stands for Reading, Enrichment and Cultural Heritage.  Children from Pre-K through Middle School are enrolled in the program which begins at the end of the school year for eight weeks.  The staff are all trained individuals that have participated in our summer enrichment program each year.  In addition, each class has an aid to assist with the class activities.   The students take field trips to educational facilities, parks, libraries and government buildings that enhance the level of education for the youth of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  A case file is established on each student and a developmental plan for educational needs, computer labs, reading center, hands-on activities, physical fitness activities and math computation skills.  Children will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis with the returning students  from the  program given the opportunity to re-apply first.

Proper food and nutrition is a high priority. As in previous years, we partner with the East Baton Rouge Parish Summer Feeding Program at Capitol Middle School for breakfast and lunch and afternoon snacks are provided at our facility.   A Parent Meeting held where families are invited to an informational meeting to address the needs of the children, their progress and update their weekly activities  We invite a guest speaker for a brief presentation on topics of interest to both parent and children that benefits the family.  In addition, a weekly newsletter is sent home at the end of each week, which included the menu for the week, scheduled activities, student of the week from each class and other information as needed.

Guest speakers will be provided for Read-A-Loud and assist the scholars in their areas of expertise.

Reading is believed to be the freedom to explore the ideas of all people everywhere, past, present and future.  Freedom to participate fully in our society.  It is a conversation between the reader and an author.  Reading is an active ever-evolving process.

The reading program will allow students to read, comprehend, and respond to a range of materials, using a variety of strategies for different purposes.  It allows the students to use comprehensive strategies such as predicting, drawing conclusions, comparing and contrasting, making references, determining main ideas, summarizing, and recognizing literary devices in context.  Many students have problems passing the state test in reading.  This program addresses a very constructive reading program with lesson plans provided by our program coordinator.  The long term benefits will be to encourage students to be life long readers.  The short term benefit will be the students will be better prepared to pass the state test.  As in previous years, we participated in the East Baton Rouge Summer Reading Program at the Eden Park Branch Library.  Each child must read a minimum of 10 books for beginners through third grade or five books for fourth through eighth grade in order to receive a reading certificate and a free book from the library.  We work directly with the Children Reading Division of the library.

A minimum of sixty (60) children will attend the program.  Additional children may be accepted to the program based on funds available.   The children will have access to all the books and other extra-curricular programs.

The program has the support and assistance of the Gloryland Baptist Church and the surrounding community.  Gloryland is located in mid-city Baton Rouge, which makes it more accessible to all of the community to benefit.

The students will participate in the program Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm.  There will be ten students per class level.  We will serve children Pre-K through Middle School.   The day begins with breakfast followed by the group in Haramabee.  Included in Haramabee will be songs, cheers and chants learned by the scholars with a Read-A-Loud guest and recognition of  scholars.  After Harambee, the scholars will be in their classroom sitting for an Integrated Reading Curriculum.  Within the two-half hour teaching curriculum, scholars have a segment called DEAR (Drop Everything And Read).  Following lunch, scholars participate in a variety of afternoon activities, including music, art, dance, drill team, rehearsal for finale, physical fitness, character building, computer lab, etc.  A bus is leased to provided transportation of students to their meals, library and field trips.

Field trips are planned for each week.  The goal is to expose the scholars to the many educational and social aspects of their lives that they are lacking.  The summer program activities included Sounds Craze from Canada, Cangelosi Dance Project, Playmaker of Baton Rouge, Pig Out On Reading, Howard Pink Magical Show, Milk Does The Body Good by LSU, Highland Road Observatory, Paws At Work by Baton Rouge Police K-9, Getting Acquainted With Native & Exotic Animals at the Port Allen Community Center, Tri Parish Ballet of Sleeping Beauty, Camp Swim at the YMCA, Career Day, Picnic in the Park, Southern University Art Museum and bowling.   The students were featured on the Southern University official website with pictures and article about an art exhibit attended by the scholars.  On hand for the special tour were two of the three artist exhibited.   Each scholar are required to wear the designated t-shirt with the program logo on it on all field trips.

Social Action Day is a day planned for the scholars, family and community.   Our site plans an annual Health Fair entitled “Building Healthy Communities” which is held the third Saturday in July from 9:00 am to 1:00 PM in conjunction with the Health Ministry chaired by Dr. Garland Green.    We have vendors on display with helpful information that will benefit individuals of all ages, infant to senior citizens.  The Health Fair includes Ask The Doctor Session, Child Identification, DARE, Big Blue Bus Health Screening for Children, lecture on childhood obesity and Early Morning Walk.

At the end of the summer program, students will be able to enter the school year motivated and better prepared in reading, math, science, social studies and computer programs.  They will be able to reason word problems better from the use of computers and the training they have received from the Summer Enrichment Program.  They will be able to use the computer as a research tool for reading, social studies and science.  Our world has changed and we must meet the need.  Computers are used for banking transactions, word processing, even putting a man on the moon.  We need to prepare the students for the future.

Many students are unable to pass the LEAP test successfully and to do critical thinking.  With reading throughout the summer, they will be prepared to compete.

We use technology to assist in motivating the students to read more and have an enjoyment for reading, social studies and science.  We use the public libraries, museum, university, and recreational park areas to achieve our goals.  Guest speakers in different areas of expertise invited as motivational speakers.  Parents are always ready for their children to have a positive place to go during the summer months.

Each day, we have a guest read-a-loud individual and participation by the community.  Some of the past guest included the Secretary of the Department of Revenue, Miss Black Louisiana, Miss Junior Teen Louisiana, college professors, teachers, physicians, correctional facility personnel and the fire department, to name a few.   In the past, two Mental Health Professionals have been on staff that promoted character building skills for the scholars and participated in the weekly parent meetings. Their help even extended into going into the homes as requested by several families.  In addition, in the past for parent meetings, our site partnered with GMAC Smart Edge Program where parents received information on finances, insurance, and banking.    Scholars received a hot well-balanced meal.  Parental involvement was at an all-time high; attendance at weekly parent meetings, assisted with field trips, and volunteered with the afternoon activities. The scholars put together a Talent Show where they were given the opportunity to display their skills and talents.   A Career Day was held and the scholars were able to hear and ask questions from the professionals that attended.    Field trips were taken to the museum, library and the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans in the past.  The   program culminated with a closing program where the scholars’ talents were displayed and recognition given for their eight weeks of accomplishments.  The “Building Healthy Communities” Health Fair was coordinated by the Health Ministry of Gloryland Baptist Church.  The purpose was to promote comprehensive health education and enrollment of health care services for infants to seniors.  The day-long event included lectures on childhood obesity and diabetes, dental health, weight loss, and cardiovascular health.  Health screenings were available  for blood pressure, body mass index, HIV mobile unit, diabetes, stroke warnings and the blood bank drive.  Over 30 vendors participated, including all area hospitals.    The scholars developed mentally and physically.  Parents were very pleased with the program and completed an evaluation form at the end of the program.

Recruitment and Retention Plan

Parents are sent a letter and form to complete and indicate if their child will be returning for the next summer enrichment program.  The other available slots for the scholars were recruited through the church bulletin, by word of mouth, and newspaper.  The age group of the program will be Pre-K through Middle School.  A Registration Day will be conducted, which will consist of introduction of staff, Overview of program and Program Expectations.  As part of the acceptance into the program, parents will receive a Parent’s Handbook. After receiving the Parent’s Handbook, the parent and scholar must read and sign the Behavior Agreement and return upon participation in the program.

Goal

We have a computer lab with a large variety of educational books and games.  In order to become the outreach beacon for all educational things, we will continue to do all the educational things possible for students of low self-esteem and low educational priorities.  The more education the family has, the better their chances are for higher income in the household.  Our church is located within miles of a library and elementary schools.

The Program Staff

The teachers are highly qualified teachers and college students with a tremendous background in a variety of fields.  The teachers have been trained and worked with the program since its beginning.  The staff includes a  program director, assistant director/program presenter, program coordinator, teachers, and a bus driver.  The aides in each class will consist of summer youth ages 14-17 employed by Gloryland Baptist Church along with the interns from Southern University Volunteerism Program.    Our congregation has a vast number of college students and professionals in all fields, but not limited to teachers, lawyers, doctors, health care professionals.    As part of the hiring process, each staff member will receive and accept the rules and regulations set forth in the Employee’s Handbook.

Description of Partnership

We provide  planned activities to partner with the East Baton Rouge Parish governmental agencies, library, museum, and the local universities for Career Day.   Recreational and educational field trips are  planned for them on a weekly basis.

Community Outreach

An article will be sent to the local newspaper as often as possible highlighting the program at Gloryland Baptist Church.  We will send information to the local schools and all area churches.  We will also work through the Marketing/Media Ministry at Gloryland Baptist Church to spread the news about our program.

Evaluation and Measurement of Outcome

A pre-test is given to all the scholars enrolled in the program.  At the end of the program, a post-test is given to measure the progress and success of the program.  The test is administered by the program coordinator.  At the end of the  program, an evaluation form is provided to the parents to complete.

Our attendance target will be 85 percent of the children registered to attend the program each day.  This was measured by daily attendance records.  Seventy-five percent of the children’s attitude toward learning, cultural appreciation will be improved on one or more attitude measure.  Pre-and Post-surveys will be given to the children and parents, including child attitudes measures on love of learning, cultural appreciation, community involvement, conflict resolution skills, acceptance of responsibility and social adjustment.

Additionally, we will test for self-esteem the first week anxiety scale and depression scale will be given.  The reading skill test (GRADE) will be given the first week of the program and the last week of the program.   Parents will be involved in all programs of the school and the progress.  Daily attendance will be recorded – child reading scores, mental health, attitude measurement and parent’s involvement will all be a part of our assessment.