Enrichment growing at Isom Elementary

Enrichment opportunities growing at Isom Elementary
Posted on 05/10/2018

In just the second year of volunteer-run after-school enrichment classes, the growth in the program has reached unprecedented levels. In the fall, Isom had 80 students involved in the five-week session. This spring? Isom has more than doubled that number to 170 students. 

“Our goal has always been to include as many kids as we can,” says Rebecca Spitzer, the parent and PTA volunteer coordinating the enrichment. “We went out and found more teachers to teach classes for us.”

The PTA-led effort invites community members and organizations into the school for five Mondays each fall and spring as part of the enrichment effort. “I think it is really fun for the kids to have an opportunity to connect with their peers doing an extracurricular activity,” Spitzer says. “It is low-cost, so it opens up these learning opportunities to kids who maybe haven’t had the chance to take these classes before.”

Examples of classes this spring include science, art (Sheila’s Art Studio and Jansen Art Center are both involved), cheerleading led by the Lynden High School cheer team, and dance instructed by Dancing for Joy.

Before enrichment season starts, the PTA sends registration forms home with each student. In the past, they’ve taken forms on a first come, first served basis or a lottery system. But this session the PTA wanted to include everyone, which they accomplished by finding more volunteer teachers to fill the need.

“I have two kids who go to Isom and they really enjoyed being able to take the classes,” she says, “so it is fun to be able to open that door.”

The PTA gives a small stipend to each of the teachers and reimburses them up to $100 worth of supplies. Each student pays $5 for the five weeks, a way to introduce craft, science, art and more in an accessible manner.

“We have tried to offer a variety of classes that would appeal to a lot of kids’ interests,” Spitzer says. “Last year one session was sports heavy and we wanted to make sure we offered classes in arts, science and the hands-on kind of things. Sports are very accessible in this community, but sometimes other interests are harder to find classes for.”

The most popular class this spring easily falls to the science class with its hands-on focus. One student deemed it the best science class they’ve ever taken. One of the most talked about fall classes was the hip hop dance class that included a performance for families on the final day.

With the growing success of the PTA-run enrichment classes at Isom, don’t expect the opportunities to slow down moving forward.