A new program initiated by Save Our Children (S.O.C.) has recently been implemented in four Beaumont schools with the purpose of boosting the reading capabilities of Beaumont Independent School District students. And those involved in the program say it seems to be working.
Beaumont resident and S.O.C. founder the Rev. J.D. Roberts said he noticed a disturbing trend in local schools.
“Too many kids in the fifth grade and sixth grade are having a problem reading,” Roberts said. “We decided at S.O.C. to do something about that.”
So S.O.C., not affiliated with BISD, and BISD’s Dr. Shirley Bonton gathered together a group of dedicated teachers willing to volunteer to assist students in improving their reading skills during two-hour sessions once per week.
“I take my hat off to Dr. Bonton,” Roberts remarked, expressing gratitude for her assistance with the program. “And these teachers who volunteered, they are doing it from their hearts. They’re doing it for S.O.C. and to better the kids.”
So far, students from Fletcher Elementary grades one through four, Jones- Clark Elementary grades first and second, Caldwood Elementary grades fourth and fifth, and Roy Guess Elementary grades first through fourth are participating in the program, which takes place weekly on Saturday for all schools except Jones-Clark whose is on Wednesday each week. Students from participating schools are served lunch at the end of the program day. Roberts said S.O.C. received a booming response from volunteering teachers at Fletcher Elementary, and a math program is also available for Fletcher students.
“Fletcher was the first school ready and had the first teachers, including two bilingual teachers, to volunteer,” said Roberts.
The six-week program is scheduled to end Nov. 22 with a graduation ceremony, and Roberts said he plans to keep it going beyond that date and throughout the school year, if possible, with support from the community.
Sponsors of the program include Mike Fuljenz, Chik-Fil-A, H-E-B stores 1 and 4, Carlito’s and Walmart.
Jennifer Johnson contributed to this report.