ribbon cutting held for magnet program

Students and USD 475 officials took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday evening celebrating the opening of a new program to help students who are at risk of dropping out or otherwise suffering academically.

Middle school can be a hard time for students.

Transitioning from middle school to high school sometimes takes a toll on students as well. Recently, Unified School District 475 held a ribbon cutting at the H.D. Earns building for its eighth grade magnet program. The magnet program is meant to help ease the transition for students who may be struggling with school.

USD 475 Executive Director of Personnel Services Dawn Toomey said the event was held to show the significance of the program.

“We want to make sure that our parents understand the ‘wow’ and the importance of what this program is going to bring to Geary County USD 475,” she said.

The goal, Toomey said, is to assist seventh and eighth grade students who have identified as at-risk for some reason — be it academic, social emotional, or some other issue — that might prevent them from reaching high school.

“What we’re trying to do is find those individuals, helps them get to that academic level where they’re feeling comfortable and confident in what they’re doing,” she said. “That way, when they progress to eighth or ninth grade — whatever grade they fall in — they’re able to be successful in those grade levels and be able to perform at the standards necessary.”

The program could keep these students from dropping out of school.

According to Toomey, the program could expand to reach other grades in the future if needed.

Patrick Noles’ son is one of the students taking part in the program. Noles was present for the ribbon cutting Tuesday evening.

“So far, it looks good,” he said. “I’m told he’s doing a lot better than he was in school, so that’s a plus.”

Ashley Zeferjahn’s son is also part of the program. She attended the ribbon cutting with him.

“Hayden had a really, really rough time last year in seventh grade,” Zeferjahn said of her son. “He has ADHD and the teachers at Fort Riley Middle School are great, but they don’t really deal with the type of learning that Hayden needs. He’s much more hands-on.”

There are, she believes, many ways of learning.

Zeferjahn hopes the program will provide more of the styles of learning her son needs. The program, she said, is supposed to be more individualized, which she believes, could also be helpful.

“He deserves to be able to have the same education as everybody else,” Zeferjahn. “This one will help him — hopefully.”

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