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The Learning Cove - Update from Annual Report

It's hard to believe that The Learning Cove is well into its third year already. At the end of last school year, we 'graduated' a number of students and started this school year with only five learners. We are now at fifteen! Each Wednesday, when we walk back from Compass to our space in the Annex, we make quite a parade!

Our reading specialist, Sue Sabourin, and Kathy Smith, who has become an invaluable liaison to the schools since her retirement from teaching, work very closely with the school staff to identify students and to make sure that what we are doing is supplemental and valuable to what is being done in the classroom. Between them they have identified a vast library of resources that our coaches use to make the hour they spend with their student productive - and fun.

Going from five to fifteen students has been a challenge. Space limitations meant we had to start a second session at 5:30. But our biggest challenge has been finding coaches and substitute coaches. I wish you could see how our coaches interact with these children and the bonds they form. It is so rewarding to watch them work together. The majority of our coaches do not have any background in teaching. They just want to help kids. The training is minimal and coaching requires about 90 minutes a week - perhaps a half hour before-and-after prep and 60 minutes spent with a child.

Our coaches come from across the community, not just from Covenant Church. As we add to the number of children we serve, we need more coaches, as well as substitutes who can fill in when one of our full-time coaches is unavailable. If you are interested in knowing more about coaching, please talk with some of the folks from Covenant who are coaches or who have been coaches - Betty Hyatt, Julie Schiller, Debbie Keyser, Jan Champanois, Frank Quinn, Mike Ratz, Lauretta Williams, Kathy Smith, Linda Curtiss. Kathy and I are happ to meet with you and answer any questions you may have.

In other good news, we recently received a $1,000 donation from Wacker Chemical. We were not expecting this. God is good!

Finally, I want to share with you a recent experience I had. I am not a coach, but am privileged to meet the students at Compass each Wednesday, walk with them to the Annex, and spend time with them while they are having their snacks, so I do get to know them a bit. Recently, I was bringing up the rear of our 'parade' as we were leaving Compass and suddenly felt little arms wrapped around my waist. I turned to see one of our 'graduates' from last year. He wanted to say hello, to tell me what he was reading, and to tell me how much he missed going to The Learning Cove each week. We shared hugs and I told him how proud of him I am. It made my day.

Roberta Saling


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