Starting in February, 30 juniors at Elizabethtown Area High School will have the opportunity to take part in Attollo, a college access/leadership program for students who could use additional guidance in planning their post-high school lives.
School staff have identified 41 students to apply for one of 30 spots in the rigorous program, which will meet twice a week before school for six weeks, Assistant Superintendent Richard Schwarzman told the Elizabethtown school board at their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
The Elizabethtown Area School District’s role is identifying students, regardless of academic ability, who could benefit from the program, which will be funded by the Elizabethtown Area Communities That Care organization, said Schwarzman, who oversees support services and compliance. The goal, he noted, is to help students believe in themselves and realize that anything is possible.
The program, to be launched Feb. 3 with a brunch for the students and their families, will start that week, with meetings at 5:30 a.m. at Emanuel Baptist
Church, located across East High Street from the district campus. The program will be offered just in the spring, Schwarzman said.
Schwarzman said the impetus for starting the program here began with data from the 2015 Pennsylvania Youth Survey, which measures at-risk behaviors, indicating that many students felt a sense of disconnectedness. (The 2017 survey showed a similar trend.)
In 2016, at the EACTC Turn Around recognition breakfast, administrators met Jordan Steffy, who runs the Lancaster- based Attollo program, founded by the Children Deserve a Chance Foundation. (Attollo means “Rise Up” in Latin.)
According to the program’s website, the Attollo Recruit program is centered around six core “pillars”: strong mind, competition, resiliency, accountability, sacrifice and finish strong. A key component is learning how to solve the Rubik’s Cube in less than a minute and a half.
“Once you can solve the Rubik’s Cube, you can pretty much do anything you want to do,” Schwarzman said.
In a follow-up from the December board meeting, where the possibility of getting a therapy dog was discussed, Schwarzman reported that a trial run took place last week, when a KPETS dog visit was held during finals exams.
Schwarzman said that a high percentage of students informally surveyed felt the dog relieved stress (97 percent) and believed a permanent therapy dog would be beneficial (98 percent). Another dog visit will be held during mental health screenings for 11th-grader students in February. A proposal for a therapy dog program will be presented at the March workshop meeting, he said.
In other business, two high school faculty members gave presentations on how the district’s educational vision is carried out in the classroom. Art teacher Kevin Goss presented a video on opportunities offered by the family consumer sciences and arts programs. Science teacher Nichole Wilkinson discussed methods that more fully engage students, such as collaboration and use of technology.