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Board of Education hears update on programs

ELIZABETH HEFFNER
Staff Writer

Lincoln County’s Board of Education discussed several reports regarding local child programs at a meeting on Tuesday.
This summer, 32 students from Catwaba Springs Elementary School and Iron Station Elementary School participated in the Y Reader Program, a free program designed to improve reading, writing and vocabulary skills for low-income students.
According to Dr. Rhonda Hager, the program is designed for rising third graders who have been designated as strategic or intensive readers on the end-of-year assessment. This year, CSES teacher Brittney Dellinger and ISES teacher Jessica Lineberger worked with students.
During the four-week program, students participated in academic activities, working with words, guided reading, writing and self-selected reading. During the afternoons, students had the opportunity to participate in swimming lessons as well as other enrichment and hands-on activities, including trips to Mountain Island Educational Forest, Pin Station, Kids Rock, Dunkin Donuts, the Lincolnton Branch Library, music classes and science lessons provided by Discovery Place.
During the presentation, Lineberger explained that 21 readers in the program improved their reading skills between one to 12 months of growth, with three readers maintaining their reading skills (no summer slide). She said the program’s goal was to increase reading skills by an average of 3.5 months.
This year, Y Readers was chosen for the 2014 Excellence in Summer Learning Award given by the National Summer Learning Association. According to Hager, “this award recognizes summer programs demonstrating excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting healthy development for low-income young people. Y Readers was one of three programs chosen from 63 applicants for the 2014 award.”
Board members also learned about this year’s success with the “Give Kids A Smile” program. According to coordinator Prissy Helms, the “Give Kids A Smile” program is an annual event sponsored by the American Dental Association, the North Carolina Dental Society and the Lincoln Dental Society.
“The program is designed to provide dental awareness and education with free preventative oral health care to as many children as possible,” Helms said. “In Lincoln County, the program targets all second- and third-grade students in the county as well as the fourth- and fifth-grade students at Kiser Intermediate and Pumpkin Center Intermediate.”
Prior to Christmas, volunteer dentists from across Lincoln County screened students to identify those who were dentally ready for sealants, a preventative procedure to prevent decay in permanent molars. After principals selected student participants, schools distributed information about the program as well as permission forms to parents and guardians. With parental permission, students then were sent to local dental offices in February by their school.
“We had a great turnout of dental volunteers this year,” Helms said. “This year, 13 dentists, 13 dental hygienists, 33 dental assistants and 17 other dental personnel donated their time and participated in the program. At the event, there were 208 students who received dental exams and 713 sealants placed. Our school system received approximately $46,000 of free preventative dental care for our students.”
Local dentists that participated in the program included Dr. Steve Austin, Dr. John Cloninger, III, Dr. Todd Hamilton, Dr. Adam Naylor, Dr. Cordell Scott, Dr. Frank Avason, Dr. Brian Dedmond, Dr. Antuan Herriot, Dr. Nicole Naylor, Dr. Daniel Carson, Dr. Keith Dedmond, Dr. Catherine Laws and Dr. Richard Pence.
“We are making a difference,” Helms said. “I know people think it’s just teeth. But as you know, kids learn better when they’re not in pain, and they lose school time when they’re in the dental office with problems…we are truly fortunate in Lincoln County. A lot of counties don’t have the resources that we do or the number of people working together for healthier students.”
Board members also voted to unanimously approve the purchase of a new playground at Iron Station Elementary School. According to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Matthew Stover, the school received $36,500 for new playground equipment from a Timken Company grant as well as PTA assistance.
Progress is being made regarding the new Asbury School. According to Stover, the design phase is currently in progress. All of the soil samples have been completed, along with 50 percent of the design plans.
“We’re currently working with R.J. Leeper to reduce cost in order to remain within the original budgeted amount for the project,” Stover said during his presentation. The company is expected to meet with Stover next on Aug. 21.
Board members received a 2014 Graduation Report, prepared by Superintendent Dr. Sherry Hoyle. This year, North Lincoln High School had the largest graduating class across the county with 246 students. West Lincoln High School followed with 231 graduating students, while East Lincoln High School and Lincolnton High School had 195 and 188 graduating students, respectively. In regards to seniors planning to attend a four-year college, ELHS and NLHS tied with 47 percent of the graduating class pursuing a four-year degree. At LHS, 31 percent stated they would be attending a four-year college, while 29 percent expressed interest at WLHS. However, WLHS had the highest percentage of students planning to attend a community college, technical institute, trade or business. Approximately 45 percent of the seniors at ELHS and NLHS stated they would be planning to attend a two-year college or institute, followed by LHS at 41 percent. Approximately 18 percent of the 2014 LHS seniors stated their intentions to stop formal education upon graduation and enter the work force. Only four percent of North Lincoln High School graduates stated they planned to immediately enter the workforce.
Lincoln County’s Board of Education will meet Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lincoln County Schools Administration Building, located off of North Generals Blvd in Lincolnton. For more information, visit www.lincoln.k12.nc.us.

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