In partnership with the BCSD and with funding from the State of South Carolina, NOC has established two Program Centers in the underserved neighborhoods of Parkview Apartments and Marsh Pointe Housing (about 120 apartments with predominantly African American population) in Beaufort. At Parkview, an apartment unit has been converted into a classroom and at Marsh Pointe, the on-site Community Center is used as classrooms. Beaufort Elementary School teachers and staff are working at these Program Centers during the summer, leading sessions in math, language arts, and literacy skills for elementary and middle school students from the neighborhoods. At the Centers, students are provided with personal laptops along with Internet access to Compass Learning, the same program used by the students in their classroom during the school year. The team works with Neighborhood Liaisons who help enroll students and maintain support in the residential area for the program. Open houses and parent meetings are planned to further the involvement of neighborhood adults and keep them engaged in the activities of the students. NOC currently has 68 students registered for the program – 43 at Parkview and 25 at Marsh Pointe. The student population ranges from Kindergarten through seventh grade and is predominately African-American. Registration and informational opportunities are held at the beginning of each session, but students can also join the program at any time.
The teachers come from Beaufort Elementary School (BES) and are prime examples of the excellent partnership that has developed between the NOC and the Beaufort County School District. The teachers bring professionalism, enthusiasm, and a keen interest in the academic success of the students to the program. Many innovative ideas have been introduced to the classroom, thanks to the creativity of the NOC teaching team. Many of the children enrolled in the program have been or will be in the BES classrooms of the NOC teachers when they return to school in the Fall. The BCSD also provides support to NOC with the Compass Learning program and consistent reporting on the progress of the students during the summer session. The Principal of BES, Melissa Holland, and members of her team have visited the two NOC sites on numerous occasions, demonstrating their interest in and support of the program.
The future of NOC in Beaufort is bright as strong relationships are being grown in the community and the value of the program is becoming established. The partnership between Beaufort Elementary School, Beaufort County School District, and Neighborhood Outreach Connection is building upon earlier successes to establish a thriving and sustainable program.
The Virtual Summer Learning Program runs through the end of July. When the Fall school term commences, the NOC Program Centers in Beaufort will continue to provide after-school programs at Parkview and Marsh Pointe. John Leadem, the Program Manager for both Beaufort sites, can be contacted at 919-302-4347 or [email protected] for additional information.