Bowker thanks Rotarians for Think Time support

Bowker thanks Rotarians for Think Time support Bob Bowker, principal at Jolley Elementary School, was the featured speaker at the Rotarians' weekly luncheon on Jan. 18.

He expressed gratitude and appreciation for the Vermillion Rotary club's support of the Think Time program, in particular 12 Vermillion Rotarians.

"We are really happy with the program, but we have a lot of work to do yet," Bowker said. "The volunteers from the Vermillion Rotary club have made huge difference in the program."

According to Bowker, the Vermillion School District created the Think Time program to assist in fulfilling the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act, in which each school district is required to meet a certain level of academic standards in reading, math and science.

"There are four different levels of assessment listed in the No Child Left Behind Act, including below basic, basic, proficient and advanced," Bowker said.

The objective of the Vermillion Think Time program is to provide tutoring and mentoring to students who want or need the academic help, he said. The No Child Left Behind Act requires at least 70 percent of the students in each group and subgroup from each school district reach the proficient level during the testing period.

"Groups of students are tested annually," Bowker said. "Overall, Jolley Elementary did pretty good except in the subgroup categories, where at least two of Vermillion's 10 subgroups did not meet the standards."

He said the Special Education and Native American subgroups did not pass, but reminded the Rotarians that many of the smaller schools in South Dakota only have a few subgroups compared to the 10 subgroups established in the Vermillion school district.

"This makes it much easier for the other small school districts to meet the standards," Bowker said. "At Jolley Elementary, there are 10 Native Americans students in the third grade, 10 in the fourth grade and 11 in fifth grade."

Although the Vermillion School District suffered setbacks in 2004, including the loss of seven full-time teachers, the district appreciates the Rotarians who volunteered their time, Bowker said.

As part of the Rotarians weekly luncheon, two elementary students, Alexis Reich, 10, and Daniel Goeden, 11, joined USD Law School student Jennifer Wagner in presenting small gifts to the 12 Rotarians who worked with the Think Time program over the past year. They included Barry Vickrey, Mercy Hobbs, David Hussey, Pat Pravecek, Roger Kozak, Jeanette Hubert, David Lias, Mike Slattery, Kent Scribner, Rennae O'Connor, Art Mabry, and Jack Noble.

According to Bowker, the Think Time program will continue its good work and the program coordinators hope to attract more volunteers from the Vermillion community.

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