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Lewes, Delaware
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August 29, 1997     Cape Gazette
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August 29, 1997

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, August 29 - September 4, 1997 - 45 SCHOOL & EDUCATION First State Mentor Corps heads to Cape Region classrooms Rosanne Pack photos Above, visiting the training session at Camp Arrowhead, Gov. Tom Carper shares his experi- ences with First State Mentor Corps members. The governor serves as a mentor to a middle school student in northern Delaware. Below, left, University of Delaware students and volunteer mentors Nicole Jeter, left, and Reena Patel participate in the FSMC training session last week. There are 14 mentors active in Sussex County schools. At right, Gov. Carper presents a new brief ease to Anyta Thomas of New Castle County as a reward for her winning design for the FSMC T-shirts logo. By Rosanne Pack When more than 40 members of the First State Mentor Corps (FSMC) sat down to lunch last week at Camp Arrowhead, they were joined by special guest Gov. Tom Carper; and the governor's favorite topic was the main course. An active volunteer school men- tor himself, Carper has the stated goal of seeing 10,000 mentors enlisted by September, 1998; and he was eager to come to Arrow- head and preach to the converted. His visit was included in the three- day summer training session that brought together 45 young volun- teer mentors that are committed to 900 hours of service in their two- year membership in FSMC. Of the group gathered in the woods of Camp Arrowhead, 14 will be active in six Sussex Coun- ty schools, including Lewes Mid- dle School and H.O. Brittingham Elementary School. The volunteer mentors were the first enrollees in the program that started last Janu- ary in Delaware, and after initial training they spent the spring in classrooms with students. The first class of FSMC finishes their ser- vice in December 1998. Each volunteer is also a college student, and participation in the program will provide an educa- tional award of $2,363 at the com- pletion of their service. While per- forming their mentoring commit- ment, each receives a $125 a month living stipend. The pro- gram is Under the legislative umbrella that created Americorps, and it is funded by a federal grant and state money through the Delaware Commission on Com- munity Service in cooperation with the host institutions, the Uni- versity of Delaware, Delaware State University and Delaware Tech College in Georgetown. Director of the Owens Campus FSMC hub, T.J. Mumford said the area volunteers have been very enthusiastic, and their goal is to recruit more mentors as the school year progresses. "We definitely could place more mentors, as they become available and go through training," Mum- ford said. "We had more requests for mentors than we could fill when we first contacted schools last winter." Mumford said that enrollment in the FSMC program is not sched- uled to open until the current group finishes their service at the end of 1998. However, anyone interested in mentoring in area schools can call him for informa- tion regarding training and place- ment as a volunteer. "The First State Mentor Corps program has been so well accept- ed, we are re-considering the scheduling," Mumford said. "I think we should get classes started so that they overlap. The need is there in the schools, and area edu- cators are eager to have mentors in their classrooms." Many of the FSMC members are early childhood education majors, and many said that the experience is invaluable. Mandy Bordwine, a student at Salisbury State University, joined the pro- ject that serves Sussex County because there is no program avail- able in her college. She volunteers in an Indian River district school, and said that the knowledge and rewards of the program make a lit- tle travel worthwhile. Sitting around tables in the airy Continued on page 48 Tips for parents as 1997-98 school year ready to roll Don't you just love the Staples commercial where the kids are in the car with Mom and she's describing all of the wonderful things that they will learn when they will go back to school? The kids are making terrible faces in the back seat dreading everything that mom mentions about school. Just then they realize that the bag containing their school sup- plies was left on top of the car and has crashed to the street with the contents strewn all over the road behind them. The kids are gig- gling thinking the back-to-school conspiracy has ended. There is pain, panic and plea- sure this time of year as the com- mercial ads beckon us back to classrooms. Students feel anxiety over new surroundings, new expectations and new friends. Their little bodies will undergo a real shock when they need to get SCHOOL JOURNAL up early, stay alert all day and get along with everyone! Parents feel a sense of relief that structure will again be restored. Schools are familiar and friendly places. The children will be meaning- fully engaged. Teachers feel the push to ready the classroom and provide an environment that is kid-friendly and student-productive. Cape Henlopen students: Pre- pare to start your engines and return to school on Wednesday, Sept. 3 this year. To lessen anxiety, parents can prepare their child in several important ways: Several days before school starts, have your children follow your school bedtime and wake-up schedule. Kids need 9-10 hours of sleep each night. Provide breakfast and lunch at times that are similar to their school schedule. Visit the library and check out books that are on a comfortable reading level. If they haven't had a reading time during the summer, establish one now. Primary chil- dren, grades K-2, need to be read to for at least 30 minutes a day. Upper elementary and middle school students need 45 minutes to an hour a day of reading on their own with parents checking for comprehension. Give students a pen or pencil and have them write. Decide if this will be a letter, poem or story. Make up some math problems that you know are a review. Pull out the flash cards and go over the basic math operations - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Turn off the TV. Children need to be quiet for concentration. If your child is unfamiliar with the school building, visit the school and walk through the halls to lessen first-day anxiety. Plan to visit your child's school to meet the staff on "Back to School" night. In the Cape Hen- lopen district, open houses will take place on the following dates: Cape Henlopen High School, Sept. 24; Lewes Middle School, Sept. 16; Shields Elementary, Grades K- 1, Aug. 28; Grades 2-3, Sept. 10; H.O. Brittingham Elementary, Aug. 28; Milton Middle School, Sept. 10; Rehoboth Elementary, Kinder- garten, Sept. 2; Grades 1-6, Sept. 17; Get in touch with a school buddy and have the children talk out their anxiety. Speak positive thoughts. "You're going to do well at school. Fifth grade will be a chal- lenge, but you can do it. Think of all the old and new friends you'll see." Unlike the kids in the Staples ad, your children will gain confi- dence and be ready to take on back-to-school. Diane Albanese is a mother and a teacher at Milton Middle School who also teaches computer cours- es at Delaware Tech.