BY ANASTASIA DAWSON
ST. PETERSBURG — Schools throughout Pinellas County are making a final push this week to enroll students in the school district’s new after-school tutoring program, known as Promise Time.
A little more than 1,600 students are already enrolled in the program and more are still enrolling. Promise Time adds 60 to 90 minutes on to the end of students’ school day at 22 Title 1 elementary schools and six Title 1 middle schools. The program aims to increase reading and math scores among low-income and minority students.
Most of the students currently enrolled in the program also participate in after-school care provided by the YMCA and ‘R Club; however, Promise Time makes sure that students also get one-on-one help with teachers and uninterrupted time for extra math and reading practice through iReady computer games and curriculum. Because the program is overseen by school employees, Promise Time can also be spent building on lessons taught during the regular school day with hands-on activities.
Students start out by taking an online placement test, designed to feel like a computer game, to assess their skill levels and areas that need extra help. As students progress through the different levels of the iReady games throughout the school year, their teachers and parents will be able to track their progress with online reports.
At Bear Creek Elementary in St. Petersburg, 80 students are currently enrolled in the Promise Time program. Principal Delores Wesley is hoping to add 20 more by the end of the week, when the window closes to get students working in the iReady program.
“The kids absolutely love it,” Wesley said. “It’s still a little early to tell how it’s working, but the kids have really taken to it and parents are definitely interested. So far, so good.”