Starting this summer, incoming Shelbyville High School freshmen who have been identified as being at-risk for missing school, having disciplinary issues or graduation concerns will be eligible to enter a summer enrichment program.
The Summer Bridge Program is slated to start in June after the Shelbyville Central Schools board approved a request Tuesday by two high school employees to pursue outside funding opportunities.
Assistant Principal Sarah Wheeler and Katie Beyer, a guidance counselor at the high school, have been working on starting the program and can now take the next step in finding money and continuing preparations for the two-week program.
Wheeler told board members the administration is always looking at what common threads exist when it comes to students attending school, earning high test scores, graduating and being disciplined.
“Is there something we can do to help students before we get to that senior year where we’re worried about them not graduating or we’re worried about them getting into disciplinary trouble or skipping school?” she rhetorically asked.
The high school has implemented various programs in the past three years that are aimed at making students feel more connected to the school and create a smooth transition. The summer enrichment program is the latest step in those efforts.
Wheeler said they intend to run the program from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 10-21 at the high school. Between 15-20 students will be identified by the middle school administration but Wheeler and Beyer see the program expanding to eventually include every incoming freshman. First, though, they want to build a good framework.
The program has several goals, including introducing students to career pathways offered; helping them become familiar with the campus; building leadership skills and collaboration; and enhancing their confidence and motivation.
The program will be held at the high school with field trips around the city. Those trips will serve to “give them a bigger, broader connection to Shelbyville High School,” Wheeler said.
“We’re hoping to get students excited about the upcoming school year and the programs that we have to offer,” she said.
Beyer told the board they will be meeting with middle school administrators to ask for a list of names of students who could benefit from the program.
“We want those kids that are real motivated, that need that extra oomph, that need that extra support system,” she said. “That’s why our activities are going to be very intentional, they’re very direct, very in-your-face, but in a loving way, trying to get them those soft skills but also those academic skills.”