BROOKSVILLE — Moton Elementary School has long had an after-school tutoring program, but principal Joseph Frana and the school's leadership committee wanted to make it more like a club — something a little more appealing.
Thus was born the Leopard Pride Club, which began Jan. 30 and will run through March 23.
Funded through Title I, students meet Tuesdays and Thursdays for reading and Mondays and Wednesdays for math tutoring. Title I provides transportation and dinner. The food is nothing fancy, Frana said, but it is something to stave off hunger.
School dismisses from 3:10 to 3:18 p.m. The club meets at 4, so there is time to eat, relax and visit with friends a bit before getting down to work.
The tutoring hour is split into 30 minutes of teacher instruction and 30 minutes of computer time. Currently, the program has four math teachers and four reading teachers. There are three third-grade and fourth-grade groups and two fifth-grade groups, with 12 students in each, a full count, Frana said. The program is open to grades 3 to 5.
There is a possibility the program could grow.
"We will try to add teachers and groups if necessary," Frana said.
Teachers were selected through an email to see who was interested.
"Most of the teachers are ones that have been doing this over the years," Frana said.
So far, the Leopard Pride Club isn't too much different from after-school tutoring. But, Frana said, "We're trying to make it engaging. We're trying to make it fun."
Part of that effort was simply renaming it as a club. But there is more. When they started, each student received a Leopard Pride folder, but the leopards depicted on it had no spots. Each time a student attends, he or she receives a spot to attach to the folder. By the end of the program, students should have properly spotted cats.
There is also a fun event planned for the end of the program, which happens just before annual testing. Frana referred to it as a special celebratory event, but the team has not yet determined the precise nature of it. Frana said it would most likely be pizza and time spent with the principal. The old definition of being sent to the principal would not apply here. This would be fun or playtime.
The children invited to participate in the program, Frana explained, were those he described as "on the cusp," or children who would benefit from an extra push. The school also placed students in the club at parents' request.
At the beginning, students were evaluated as to where they were, and instruction is very personalized.
"I think that with the additional support, they have a better understanding of standards for their grade levels," Frana said.