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HOSTS programs kick off this week

STACEY PLAISANCE / L’Observateur / September 23, 1998

PARADIS – Improvements in education branch out from the classroom to the community through the institution of a mentor program designed to maximize success opportunities for junior high students.

The Help One Student to Succeed program focuses on establishing a partnership between St. Charles Parish schools and the community tostrengthen student math and language arts skills. Kickoff of this year’sHOSTS programs will be held at Albert Cammon Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. and atJ.B. Martin on Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. Eual J. Landry and Harry Hurst will holdtheir kickoffs later this fall.

HOSTS provides supplemental learning opportunities with the benefit of individual or small group assistance, said Math HOSTS Instructor for J.B.Martin, Gwen Hitt.

“These students are already in regular math and language arts classes, but HOSTS gives them the opportunity to reinforce their math and language arts skills,” Hitt said.

Students are assessed to determine their strengths and weaknesses and are provided with direct, hands-on instruction in areas where improvement is needed. The mentors are the most crucial component tothe program, Hitt said.

“During mentoring sessions, the students are given one-on-one instruction with an adult, and the skills addressed are those diagnosed from the initial assessment,” she said. “They work on skills these students reallyneed.”Community businesses, schools, parents and grandparents have been recruited as mentors for the program.

“The mentors gain so much,” she said. “They benefit from the program inhelping young students succeed in areas of difficulty.”Hitt said 90 percent of the teachers at J.B. Martin have devoted at leastone of their planning periods to serving as a HOSTS mentor, in addition to performing their daily obligations.

HOSTS mentors are asked to donate 45 minutes of their time once a week.

Mentor-friendly student folders containing individual student learning assignments and activities are prepared for use by the mentors. Thesefolders act as road maps to guide the mentor and to reinforce the classroom teacher’s instruction.

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