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Russellville gives program A+

Russellville gives program A+

Educators: Cadet teaching benefits teachers, students

April 10th, 2013 in News

Russellville senior Faith Shull will fulfill her 50 hours of tutoring required for the A+ program by helping 45 minutes each day with Ann Brennecke's preschool class.

Photo by Michelle Brooks

RUSSELLVILLE, Mo. - One day, Faith Shull hopes to be a music teacher.

So it seemed natural when the preschool class, where she has been cadet teaching, was looking at the letter "G" that she bring in her guitar.

She quickly taught herself "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" so she could play something the little ones recognized.

"It's neat what A+ students can contribute and bring in extra," said preschool teacher Ann Brennecke.

Brennecke is among 21 seniors - that's more than half of the class - at Cole County R-1 High School participating in the A+ program.

The A+ scholarship program is managed by the Missouri Department of Higher Education. Two-year public community colleges, technical colleges and some private two-year colleges are eligible.

Students must attend a high school with an A+ program for three years, graduate with a 2.5 grade point average or higher, have a 95 percent attendance rate during four years, and maintain good citizenship and a clean record.

The Russellville schools added the A+ program in 2009. Their cadet teaching program helps A+ candidates fulfill the required 50 hours of unpaid tutoring.

"The A+ program has been a great benefit for both the teachers and students," said counselor Brent Mettlen. "Teachers have an extra helper and many of the elementary-aged students look up to the high school mentors.

"So it is a nice program for all involved."

In the preschool class of 15, Shull and other cadet teachers bring an extra pair of hands and ears to provide one-on-one help, Brennecke said.

She and her paraprofessional Lyndsay Ludy stay busy keeping up with lessons and interests within the daily routine.

"It's not quantity of time; it's quality - that little extra, especially if someone's having a bad day," Brennecke said.

In the sixth-grade English classroom, senior Sue Engelage loves working with the preteens.

"I try to be a good role model," Engelage said. "I know middle school is hard; they're learning who they are."

Although her intended college major is digital media, Engelage said she enjoys working with children.

"There are little things that save time when they can jump in and do it," Brennecke said. "They really earn that scholarship."

Shull and Engelage agree what they have learned most from this experience is patience.

"I didn't think I'd be good with little kids," Shull said. "But they seem to like me."

As the seniors look to graduation, "it's cool they can give back where they started," Brennecke said.

"I mostly did this for the scholarship money," Shull said. "I didn't know I would get so attached. It will be hard to leave."