By Meghan Keely
Herald Staff Writer
The district’s Children’s Opportunities for Outside Learning Program (C.O.O.L) is an after-school and summer, grant-funded curriculum. It promotes and reinforces classroom standards in areas of reading, math and science through hands-on and enrichment based activities.
Program director Becky Jones said she believes the program has been very beneficial for the students involved.
“The learning activities are hands-on. It is a lot different than the worksheets the students are used to,” Jones said. “The students also get help with their homework. All C.O.O.L program teachers are district employees and state certified. The students also work in groups comprised of students from different grades. It works for them to work with each other.”
It is a rare event when you’re at a school and hear a kid say he or she enjoys staying after school to learn, but in Farrell many students are praising their after-school program.
Whispers and the scratching of lead pencils filled one teacher’s classroom as students diligently worked on their writing project.
“We are supposed to pick a different century and describe and average day in our life,” said sixth-grader, Jaden Leekins, 11. “I picked the 1980’s because I want an afro and old-school clothes. I’d go around walking with my new hairstyle, boom-box in my left hand and my shades on.”
Leekins said he really enjoys the C.O.O.L program, and his grades have improved.
“It’s a good thing. I come, do my homework and learn. I have improved in math. The teachers have helped me learn how to divide and multiply fractions.”
Another sixth-grader, Kalia Knight, 11, agreed with Leekins, saying the program has helped her better understand math.
“At first I was not getting multiplying fractions and coming here the teachers have helped,” Knight said. “I understand better, and I look forward to coming to the C.O.O.L program.”
Students in the classroom across the hall were just as eager to share their learning experiences and gratitude towards the C.O.O.L program.
“”We get to play games,” said third-grader De’zon Clark, 9. “I learn a lot, and it’s fun because you get to do activities and stuff.”
Michelle Stubbs, 9, a third-grader at Farrell, said she has improved a lot in writing.
“I like to write stories now,” Stubbs said. “I really enjoy coming to the C.O.O.L program. It helps.”
One fourth-grader had many reasons she liked participating in the after-school program.
“It’s fun. We get to do all this fun stuff. Plus C.O.O.L is a get-a-away from home and my brother,” said Brylynn Kennedy, 10. “My grades have improved, and in class I am moving up to a higher learning group.”
The program also offers tutoring and curriculum for middle school students and high school students.
For more information on any of the programs contact the C.O.O.L program director Becky Jones at email@example.com.