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Ratliff Center prepares for after-school programs

The Theo Ratliff Activity Center’s after-school program will be open to students in the first through the eighth grade on August 13, allowing them to receive a snack, tutoring, homework help and exercise every Monday through Thursday from 3-5 p.m.

According to Edward Ward, the Ratliff Center’s director, students will receive generalized tutoring until the first Progress Report comes out, after which the program will be tailored to meet the needs of each student.

“We’re looking at each individual child to see what their deficiencies are,” he said.

When the students arrive at the Ratliff Center, they will be given snacks and will be split into two age groups. The first group will be in the computer lab receiving academic help while the second participates in the day’s recreational activity, such as soccer or basketball. After approximately 45 minutes, the groups will switch.

Students can also take advantage of one-on-one tutoring during a portion the recreation time.

In the past, approximately 50 kids per day have benefited from the Ratliff Center’s after-school program. Students can join the program at any time and stay in it for as long as they need.

“We just accept them when they come and work with them when they’re here,” Ward said.

The program was started about eight years ago when Ward saw that students would come after school to play basketball but never received any academic support.

Ward called the program a “win-win” because students are able to get help academic help while also having fun and because parents can be sure that their kids are in a safe environment while they are at work.

Parents are also welcome to receive tutoring and refresh their skills in order to help their child with homework.

“It’s not a reflection on the parent. When you’ve been out of school for 10-20 years, you lose some of it,” Ward said.

The tutoring staff is comprised of three part-time certified educators employed through the Demopolis City School System and two Demopolis High School senior volunteers. The recreational activity staff is two part-time coaches employed through the DCSS. An interpreter is also available for Spanish-speaking students who need additional help with their homework or tutoring.

For more information about the Ratliff Center or the after-school program, call 334-289-2200.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, August 8 issue of the Demopolis Times.)