The Public Education Foundation of Anniston (formerly known as the Anniston City Schools Foundation & Next Start Program), has provided academic support services for “at-risk” students in the Anniston City School System since 1998. (All children are “at-risk” at some point in their life. And all children, whether they are labeled “at-risk” or not, need mentors, role models and caring adults in their lives).

PROGRAMS

REACH (Reading Enhancement and Comprehension Help) (formerly The Reading Game) was implemented in 2004. The goal of the REACH is to boost reading skills through competition. Students are recognized each semester for improving their reading skills and are awarded with books, certificates and t-shirts. The classroom with the highest percentage of students reading at grade level receives a monetary award and a trophy. The classroom that shows the most improvement from previous six-weeks also receives a monetary award and a trophy. The Kindergarten class that has the highest percentage of students reading at grade level also receives a monetary award and a trophy.This program is held at all five elementary schools.

To date over $25,000 has been awarded to teachers for their classrooms and incentives for the students.

The Mentoring Program* is a school-based program matching community volunteer with students who have been identified by their teacher, principal, counselor or parent as needing extra support, attention or friendship. The mentor has the opportunity to meet with the child during the school day: during class time, outside of the class, or during lunch time.

Our mentors are screened, trained and matched to a child for the entire school year. Mentors commit to meeting with their mentee once a week for an hour. The mentor is informed of the mentoring goal once we receive the referral form indicating if the relationship shall be primarily academic, relationship building or behavioral.

School-based mentoring can be operated at a fairly low cost. Because the school-based mentoring program makes use of school facilities, we only need to provide resource materials to the volunteers, i.e., mentor handbooks.

Goals
• Staying in school, graduation
• Finding solutions to problems
• Improving behaviors
• Drug-free and crime-free behavior
• Creating a willingness to trust and accept responsibility
• Increasing attendance
• Improving academics
• Promotion from the current grade

*As a school-based program, all meetings between the mentors and students must take place on school grounds.

School Volunteer Program
The school Volunteer Program exists to enhance the effective use of teachers in the classroom, to broaden the educational experience of our students, and to generate greater community involvement and good will in the schools.

Program Goals
• Enrich children’s learning opportunities
• Establish school & community partnership for quality education
• Assist teachers & support staff in instructional and non-instructional tasks
• Provide opportunities for meaningful service
• Provide assistance for individual students
• Aid students in their quest to reach their fullest potential
• Increase students’ knowledge of the community and their contact with its citizens
• Enhance all aspects of the educational process

At the principal’s request, volunteers may assist in the following ways:

1. Instructional Support - curriculum and classroom-related activities; motivational programs; materials and program development; enrichment programs.
2. Support Services - clerical, physical education
3. And other ways that the principal deems appropriate.
Volunteers are recruited from many different populations including parents, community members, senior citizens, civic groups, churches, agencies, post-secondary students, businesses, and retired educators.

Roles and Responsibilities

Teachers
1. Providing volunteers with clear direction, materials, and space to work;
2. Reporting problems with the volunteer placement to the Parent Involvement Specialist
3. Providing volunteers with encouragement and recognition.

Volunteers
1. Attending orientation and training as appropriate;
2. Carrying out assigned duties;
3. Being punctual, reliable, discrete, maintaining confidentiality, and following the school’s procedures;
4. Reporting problems with the placement to the Parent Involvement Specialist;
5. Completing a "Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement" and clearance form for background checks.

Our Impact
Teachers report that, of students who received volunteer help last year,
96% improved in school work
92% improved in self-confidence
89% became more interested in school
27% no longer need extra assistance

Volunteers per school:
Anniston High -  27
Anniston Middle -  61
Cobb Elementary  - 2
Constantine Elementary  - 10
Golden Springs Elementary -  22
Randolph Park Elementary  - 3
Tenth Street Elementary  - 15

195 volunteers; 7 schools; over 2,072 students served; 1,559 hours of volunteer services, dollar value of volunteer hours provided $34,516.26.

Class Act

This character education program was implemented in 2004 at the Anniston Middle School. The program involves volunteers from business organizations, civic and community groups facilitating mini-sessions for forty-five minutes each Tuesday for 489 students, that foster ethics, responsible and caring young people by modeling and teaching good character. Emphasis is placed on common values such as respect, honesty, fairness, compassion, responsibility, civility, courage and kindness. Many different school districts including Alabama are now requiring that Character Education be specifically addressed in the classroom. During this school year, Class Act had 49 volunteers, who contributed a total of 374 hours. The volunteer hours were equivalent to $8,281 based on a national average of $22.14 per hours for volunteers if they were receiving pay.
Character education does not require vast funding. Primary expenses include initial training, resources materials, and year end awards for the students.

Sponsors: (Past and Present)
Jacksonville State University (Education Dept), Rising Star Methodist Church (Harold Ray), Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Faith Outreach Ministries (Wonder Osborne & Pastor Wallace Cooley), Regions Bank (Anniston), Regions Bank (Lenlock), Regions Bank (Saks), RMC Occupational Health, Wachovia, Thankful Baptist Church (Alice Easley), Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Anniston Star, Anniston Community Education Foundation, Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, JSU Wellness-Anniston, YMCA, B. R. Williams Trucking, Inc., Greenbrier Church of Christ, Steve Folks-Carver Community Center, A. C. Consultant & Counseling Services (Anthony Chatmon), Community Foundation of Calhoun County, Westinghouse-Anniston, Fred Robinson, Jacksonville Medical Center, Alabama Power Company, Amsouth Bank, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Coosa Valley Youth Services, Next Start, Anniston Water Works and Sewer Board, Boys & Girls Clubs of East Central Alabama, Rodney Greenwood-TV 24, Compass Bank, Wells Fargo Bank,Lemuel Davis, Manuel Robinson, Anthony Brown, Veronica O’Neal. 

Kevin Thompson Teacher Project

A pre-teacher program with Jacksonville State University and Anniston High School, has proven to be a success. The program started  in the fall of 2011 and students worked with an adjunct faculty member from JSU on objectives to help them understand the role and responsibilities of a teacher. There is funding allotted for 12 students. The expected outcome is that upon graduation, these students will return and teach in the Anniston City School System. During this school term, we were able to get a $18,000 grant from Alabama Power to purchase 12 laptops for the class. A Foothills grant from the Community Foundation of Northeast Al awarded us $4,700 to assist with tuition and field trips for the class. We are also supported by the Jameson Family through their financially contributions for this program.


Inactive Programs:

Scholarship Program: A scholarship program was established and implemented in May 1998 through a partnership with the City of Anniston. Scholarships are awarded to qualifying Anniston High School graduates who choose to continue their education beyond high school. Students that attend Calhoun County Colleges: Jacksonville State University and Gadsden State Community College received tuition and book scholarships sponsored by the City of Anniston Scholarship Fund. Students who choose to attend college or a university outside of Calhoun County qualified for a scholarship (on a limited basis) through the Next Start Partnership Fund. Local businesses and individual donors contribute these funds.

Scholarships Awarded 1998-2008
604 in the amount of $579,252.89

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