Inola's STARS program

Thursday, November 22nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

In one Rogers County town, educators believe that Students Taught After school Really Shine. That’s what the new STARS program in Inola is all about, continuing the learning process after hours while Mom and Dad are working.

The hours after school aren't just about homework for these Inola middle schoolers. They're learning problem solving skills by working brain-teaser puzzles, brushing up on their reading skills and getting some extra one on one time with the teacher.

263 students from Kindergarten through 12th grade are enrolled in Inola's innovative after school program. Assistant Superintendent Steve Waldvogel says he expects student involvement to double in the next few months. "We've had a lot of parents tell us that it's the best thing that they've seen ever in this school district." Because the STARS program involves certified teachers from the district, it's easier to track a student's progress and identify each child's needs.

STARS focus on four goals each day. Nutrition and wellness goals provide a healthy snack for every child each afternoon. Aerobics and games keep the students fit. Individual tutoring and computer classes improve academic progress. And, a variety of music and crafts keep students involved in the arts.

8th grader Doug Scrivner, "I like working on the cars and gliders in Mr. Bradford's class." 6th grader Deante Terry, "Well, babysitting, I just sat there and did my homework. And here, we go to activities other than just go do your homework and stuff like that." There are adult education classes available to the community as well, all for free. But, you can't put a price on how brightly the stars are shining in Inola.

The STARS program is possible because of a $1.2-million grant. 1,300 school districts, nationwide, applied. The Inola district is one of 23 in Oklahoma to be awarded the grant.