ESP offers students a chance to build their skills

Published 8:46 am Thursday, December 17, 2015

It may come as a relief to working parents that their children can spend upcoming free time constructively, in a supervised environment.
Whether, they’re building FM radios and infrared detectors, or learning how to bake or how to use computers, the students have opportunities to learn and develop skills with the Extended School Program.
The ESP offers engaging, educational after school and daytime programs throughout the year for Elizabethton city school students in grades pre-K through eight.
Though the program has been around for nearly 20 years, attendance has recently skyrocketed. ESP Director Carrie Taylor said that last year at this time, they had 142 students enrolled, but that they now have 225.
“I think our structure and academic focus have been the main reasons that our attendance has increased,” she said. “Those are the things that set us apart from other after school programs.”
In the newest program, called Snap Circuits, students learn about currents and electricity while designing things like burglar alarms, FM radios, infrared detectors and LED fans.
“Everything we do is centered around fun and project-based learning,” she said.
They also offer LEGO education and programs that incorporate literature and math into games and activities.
Elementary students may be transported by bus to Harold McCormick for ESP, and the program for junior high students will take place at T.A. Dugger.
Perhaps best of all, ESP is an affordable, income-based opportunity with a maximum monthly fee of $50. This is possible through funding in part by the Lottery for Education: After School Programs Grant and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant.
Taylor said the holidays are a good time to enroll and get to know the program, but she encourages families to utilize the opportunity throughout the school year. The program operates after school from dismissal until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and in the eight weeks of summer from 7:15 a.m. to 8 p.m., as well as on various days during the academic year when school is scheduled to be closed.
Parents interested in enrolling their child may visit the website or may call the ESP office at 423-547-8000 X 2012 to speak with Taylor.
Volunteers are always welcomed and may apply at the school system’s central office, located at 804 South Watauga Ave.

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