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WES making ‘Community Connection’

Westside Elementary School will roll out Community Classroom Connection in January, which will enable members of the community to visit students during class and build relationships with them.

Amanda Barnes, executive director of the Demopolis City Schools Foundation, and Janie Basinger, second-grader teacher and member of the Lighthouse team at WES, both had similar ideas to encourage students whose parents work and may not always make it to special school events.

Barnes said students would benefit from having another adult “cheering them on” and interacting with them.

“It just gives them another adult to wave to and another adult that knows about them and cares about them.”

The community members involved will also be able to understand “the realities of a 21st century classroom” and how students today learn their lessons.

The adults and teachers will work together to customize a schedule, but Barnes said the minimum participation would be attending a lesson in a subject area once every nine weeks. Participants are also encouraged to come for lunch, attend programs or engage with the students in other ways.

Each quarter, a short article will also be emailed to each participant to learn about the “science of teaching” which Barnes said is meant to help participants understand some of the teaching methods that are used in schools today.

“Education is a profession. There’s research and science behind the way teacher’s do things,” she said.

Barnes said the minimum requirements only add up to 10-15 hours per school year and that participants will be honored with the classes at awards day in May. They currently have 35 slots to fill.

The only cost associated with the program would be a background check. The application can be found at demopolis.org and is due by Dec. 20.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, December 12 issue of the Demopolis Times.)