December 11, 2017
School & Youth
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  • Parent volunteers and Riviera Beach Elementary School teachers were proud of the growth their students underwent thanks to the literacy program.
    Photo by Maya Pottiger
    Parent volunteers and Riviera Beach Elementary School teachers were proud of the growth their students underwent thanks to the literacy program.

Riviera Beach Elementary Honors Parent Volunteers

Maya Pottiger
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December 5, 2017

For Nine Weeks, Five Parents Volunteered To Help Accelerate Students’ Literacy Levels

A select group of students and teachers gathered in the library at Riviera Beach Elementary School to honor five parent volunteers.

For nine weeks, these parent volunteers spent an hour and a half each week helping 24 students accelerate their literacy levels.

Parent volunteers Mary Hilditch, Michelle Purdy and Christina Griffin attended the November 28 ceremony. They were presented with gift bags, and juice and doughnuts were provided for all in attendance.

“It was rewarding to see the kids moving up and recognizing things and the happiness that we’d pull them out of class,” Hilditch said. “They’re all smiles even though they’re sitting down to learn.”

During the ceremony, each of the students was recognized with a certificate and had their accomplishments announced. Students’ growth was measured on their number of sight words, as well as their understanding of letters and letter sounds.

Riviera Beach Elementary School teachers Peggy Flohr and Lori Hunt trained the parent volunteers during a session one morning at the end of September. They provided the volunteers with many resources: guidelines for how to work with the kids, how to problem-solve with the students, and positive feedback and process praise.

“We gave them specific things [the volunteers] would be working on. If you’re going to work on this letter, these are some activities you can do,” Hunt said. “We had those activities ready for them in the morning when they came in and sat down with those three students so everything was right at their fingertips.”

Each parent worked with three children at a time. They visited the school three times a week, and each session lasted 30 minutes.

The group of parent volunteers and students remained the same throughout the nine weeks, but the days of the week changed depending on the parents’ schedules.

“When we had this idea, we opened it to all parents,” said Principal Jason Anderson. “All parents and community members who were willing to commit to three days a week, 30 minutes a day and for nine weeks. This commitment definitely thins out the available individuals.”

“Our parents and these women, specifically, are very dedicated,” said Media Specialist Stephanie Wineke. “And we are just so lucky to have them.”

Purdy, a stay-at-home mom, said the program was convenient for her to participate in because it started right after she dropped her children off at school. “It was nice to see the excitement from the kids when they saw us coming and nice to know we made a difference and see the impact of our help,” Purdy said.

Parents interested in volunteering for the spring program can reach out to Susan Lewis, the Riviera Beach Elementary guidance counselor who also serves as the school’s volunteer coordinator.


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