KoMet Academy gives the opportunity to extend the school day
There are many different paths for children as they receive their education. Growing up, some kids take to their path of learning like a fish to water. However, some other students may also need a little push that helps them get to where they want to be.
In the Kasson-Mantorville district, there is an understanding that many students learn in different ways. KoMet Academy is an after-school program at the elementary and middle school that provides time for review and reinforcement of skills taught during the school day. The focus is to help students make progress toward academic goals. Both programs are unique, but strive for the same goal.
“It’s a way to give that extra boost,” K-M Elementary School teacher and KoMet Academy coordinator Jana Southwick said. “It gives them another opportunity for learning and an extension for what they are learning during the day.”
“We’re trying to fill in the gaps,” K-M Middle School teacher and fellow coordinator Jamie Skala said. “We just try to give them a little extra push to get them to meet the standards that the Minnesota Comprehension Assessment tests.”
At the elementary school, the KoMet Academy program is one that helps extend the school day. After a quick snack and recess period, the kids are broken down into smaller groups of about 13-15 kids. Each group focuses on the math and reading aspects and gives them a little extra practice time to help further understand the principles that are taught during the school day.
“It’s a lot of hands on activities and it’s a bit different feel,” Southwick said. “The format is a little more laid back and a new group of kids helps make it interesting. Students could meet some new friends and our staff works hard to present learning in a unique way. For the most part it goes awfully fast and they’re actively learning and growing.”
The program is a little different at the middle school and has the slightly different name of After School Academy (ASA). While the programs go hand-in-hand, the concept is the same to help kids that need a little extra boost by extending the school day. While another hour of school may be less appealing to the older demographic, Skala and her group of teachers try to make it interesting with a variety of games and challenges.
“Trying to get these kids to buy into it is the hard part, but you’re going to get out of it what you put into it,” Skala said. “Sometimes it’s a simple as having a bucket of candy in my room and the winners get a piece. Just little things like that can help them buy in.”
Both programs work together to provide transportation within Kasson and Mantorville. This helps make the program more accessible for families. The success of students at K-M is the driving force behind both programs.
“I personally love working with these kids because I had the same challenges that they had growing up,” Skala said. “I had to work hard for my grades like they do and it’s fun to teach these kids that if they work at it, it will pay off.”
“It’s fun to see their faces and their enthusiasm for learning,” Southwick added. “They are giving an hour of the day to spend learning and it’s really meaningful and fun for them. I see kids just growing and learning from all these different facets and opportunities. It’s why we do what we do.”