Demopolis Middle School implements after-school program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 20, 2005

For students of Demopolis Middle School the learning process does not end when the school day ends. For the last week the school has had a program called DMS (Determined Students Succeed) to help students achieve the goal of becoming well-rounded students.

Martha McKnight, who is helping run the program, said they try to use their time the best they can to address all areas of academics.

“We use this program to help with a lot of different subjects,” McKnight said. “We divide into groups and the teachers come in and help them with whatever they need help with.”

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McKnight said most of the programs, like Life span, work no matter what subject the student is studying.

“It really works across the curriculum because it may have social studies and help them with reading,” McKnight said. “We hope to start it later in the week. We have to do some pre-testing to make sure we are not just teaching them the same stuff they have already learned.”

The program is in its early stages, but already seems to be gaining popularity. McKnight said more and more students have inquired and participated each day.

“We have only been doing it for a week, but the response has been very good,” McKnight said. “We still have new people coming in every day. In fact, it has been so good that we had to pull in additional teachers.”

The students are just as excited about the program as the teachers and parents. Most see it as a great opportunity to get ahead in their studies and spend time with their friends.

Lavaughn Terry said he looks forward to coming every day.

“It is just a fun place to come and hang out with friends,” Terry said. “We have a lot of fun and play around and learn a lot too.”

Africhiniae Fikes said she enjoys the program as well.

“It really is a lot of fun,” Fikes said. “We learn a lot and have a good time too.”

McKnight said keeping things fun was a huge part of getting the students to learn. She said there were several educational and leisure activities.

“We have computer programs that are interactive and fun,” McKnight said. “We also play games everyday. We need about 15 minutes of physical activity. We are going to have a ping-pong table, badminton and board games like checkers.”

Future programs are also on deck to help students broaden their horizons. McKnight said soon they hope to introduce some students to the world of theater and acting.

“We are also going to have some enrichment type activities,” McKnight said. “We are going to have some theater productions that will come in the spring. We have auditions on Monday night and they will meet on Monday and Wednesday nights to work on that.”

McKnight said in the future the program may expand to include adults. She said they are working toward providing fun adult activities to help them learn new skills.

“I am talking to some other people about doing some other activities for adults as well,” McKnight said. “Things like cake decorating and fun stuff.”

McKnight said the program operates on a grant that will help them dictate how much progress they can make for the next few years.

“We can’t do it all right now,” McKnight said. “We have a three year grant and it will take us three years to get everything off the ground.”

Future plans include widening programs to include students from other schools and field trips such as a trip to the 4-H in Columbiana or a train ride.