Baldwin Park Unified’s Bursch Elementary School is launching after-school classes exploring science and the arts, as well as free after-school tutoring to expand student access to enrichment opportunities and study help.
“This is the first time we’re trying this,” Principal Russhell Martinez-Ortega said. “We’re really trying to reach out to our community to offer options that we don’t always have as much time for as we’d like during the school day.”
The idea started with an art class offered as an incentive through Bursch’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (BPIS) program, which rewards good behavior, Martinez-Ortega said.
Student interest surged, and the teacher, who has a background in art, said she could teach a weekly after-school class. That plan spawned the idea for a hands-on science experiment class and a dance class focused on ballet folklorico.
“Interest from the students just skyrocketed,” Martinez-Ortega said.
Already, more than 55 students have signed up for the science and art classes. The folklorico class teacher will hold a parent meeting on the first day to ensure families are prepared for the heavy commitment involved.
Because of the strong interest, Martinez-Ortega created two, four-week sessions, from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. Tuesdays. The first session starts Tuesday, Feb. 20.
In addition, two teachers will provide after-school tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays in literacy and math, including Accelerated Reader and i-Ready programs.
Accelerated Reader boosts reading comprehension by quizzing students on books they read and awarding points based on test performance; i-Ready is a computer adaptive reading and math program that tailors instruction to student needs. Tutoring will be conducted in two Bursch computer labs, which can accommodate 60 students.
Students also have access to Think Together, an after-school program offered at school districts across the state. The enrichment and tutoring classes supplement Think Together, with students able to move between the programs.
“These classes testify to the dedication of our incredible team of educators at Bursch Elementary,” Superintendent Dr. Froilan N. Mendoza said. “They saw a hunger in their students for these classes and found a creative way to meet that need. It really exemplifies Baldwin Park Unified’s mission to ensure high achievement for all learners.”