Rock Island School Leaves Lights On to Support Students - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rock Island School Leaves Lights On to Support Students

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A Rock Island school is one of more than one hundred across Illinois getting federal funds to help kids and their families make the grade.

The Lights On for Learning program fills in the gap between the end of the school day and the work day, and makes learning fun at the same time. From 3 to 5:15 every day, dozens of students at Earl Hanson Elementary get some extra attention.  In groups of four to six, they spend 30 minutes with one teacher studying math, then another 30 minutes learning language arts, along with getting homework help, a snack and a fun activity, like a guest speaker or a field trip.

At a time when school budgets are shrinking and class sizes seem to be growing, administrators say it can be tough for teachers to find enough time for one-on-one time with each student, especially if one is struggling with a concept the rest of the class understands.

Earl Hanson's principal says the program was in place here years ago, but gone after funding streams changed. It's why she's fought for three years to bring Lights On back to Earl Hanson and excited to get the grant this time around. "Our school really has a huge need," Principal Deb Taber says. "Our community really has a huge need for this extra support for our students. So this gives families an opportunity to have their students stay at school and get that extra support they may need."

And it's something families will be able to do for the foreseeable future. The Lights On grant gives Earl Hanson 138 thousand dollars to spend over five years. Right now, 81 kids from 1st through 6th grade are taking part in the program, along with about 15 teachers. The principal says she'd like to phase in kindergartners next year.