Helping hand in school can help fill in blanks


March 11, 1994|By LOURDES SULLIVAN

When I was in third grade, way back in the Middle Ages (or was Rome still grand then? Greece glorious?) I woke for a week with a hacking cough bad enough to keep me home for an extra hour every day. I would go to school at 10 a.m., missing math class.

Unfortunately for me, that week Miss Smith taught us why multiplication works. She explained how memorizing this table of numbers would make our mathematical studies easier.

By the time I re-entered math class, my schoolmates were busy memorizing what I thought were random numbers.

That was OK by me -- I was savvy enough to realize that remembering this stuff would get me good grades. Good grades got me kudos and the occasional present.

But I never knew what I was doing. It wasn't until I got to ninth grade and was tutoring a neighbor that I ran across the explanation in a better textbook than one I'd worked from.

Six years of confusion vanished when I read one paragraph.

I wish I'd had teachers like the ones at Guilford Elementary. They recognize that this sort of thing happens to many of us: For some reason, we just missed a basic building block of knowledge.

Recognizing a common problem is the first step, but not the only step, in solving it. So James McCoy, a fifth-grade teacher at Guilford, became the coordinator of the SKILLS Program.

In this after-school program, students strengthen their basic skills in reading, writing and math, working in small groups.

The teachers, Sharon Johnson, Barbara Conn, Nancy Stark, Kathy Mossman and Stephanie Milligan, get to use games and other teaching techniques that are fun, but are impractical with larger groups.

Currently, there are about 40 third- and fifth-graders enrolled in the program.

It was a smart move to ensure that fifth-graders had this opportunity to review and strengthen their basic skills before they enter middle school, where the school day is more complex.

There are plans afoot to expand this popular program to fourth-graders next year.

To that end, Mr. McCoy urges teachers who might be interested in the program to call him at the school for details.

The teachers' stipend is being paid by the school system's Black Student Achievement Program, which sponsors this effort.

The school's number is (410)-880-5930.


It's that time again: The awesome artists of Forest Ridge Elementary once again have agreed to exhibit their works at the Savage Library.

The third-graders obviously have been influenced by color field paintings. Their wax-resist drawings echo this theme.

Among the artists representing the efforts of the third grade are Brian Curley, Dana Ashley, Mike Connors, Ashley Giddings, Nick Carpenter, Ben Mauk and Kristy Kronmeyer.

Joshua Rosenbaum ably represents the first grade with his dynamic picture of a truck driven in the rain. Surely this is too topical a subject!

There are four "Still Life With Pumpkin" compositions exhibited over the computer area. Second-graders Brian Barresi, Minnie Park, Julie Reynold and Brent Dorman also used the wax-resist technique to create these icons of a bountiful autumn.

Over the copy machine, check out the scary collage dragons and monsters created by second-graders Steven Eddy, Daniel Jun and Jeff Schuurman.

It makes you hurry to get your copies done!


There is more to girl scouting than camping and discovering new interests. There is also the recognition that the more-fortunate have a responsibility to the less-fortunate.

Girl Scout Troop 650, under the direction of Terry Tolliver and Fany Kusnetz, is busy preparing bag lunches for residents of Elisabeth House this weekend, as they already did last weekend.

Elisabeth House residents will get a well-balanced and delicious lunch, while the troop members will earn their Harvest for the Hungry badge.

Way to go!


The Montpelier Cultural Arts Center is calling for photographs and short biographies of those who participated in the Normandy invasion of 1944.

The center plans an exhibition for June, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the invasion.

The center also would be interested in exhibiting collections of photographs that amateur historians may already have assembled.

Please call (301) 953-1993 or (410) 792-0664 for more details about this exhibit.

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