HEBRON – Hebron Station School is the ninth elementary school in SAD 17 to open its doors to provide after-school opportunities for students in grades one through six.

The DEPOT tying in with the school’s railroad theme stands for Diverse Enrichment Providing Opportunities Together. It will be housed at the school, beginning today and will be offered each school day from 3 to 6 p.m.

The program anticipates being open on school vacations and teacher in-service days, depending on enrollment. There will also be a full-time summer program.

“We are excited about creating a program that offers diverse learning opportunities, which not only tie into school curriculum, but foster all areas of development. The program includes time for healthy snacks, physical activity and quiet homework periods from which all children will benefit. We look forward to a positive program experience for children, parents and teachers, as well as the community as a whole,” said Site Coordinator NancyLee Piper.

Principal Nathan Merrill’s enthusiasm for the program is schoolwide. “Our entire staff is excited about the possibilities and there is definitely interest in tutoring or for teaching an enrichment program. I already approached the staff about teaching a cooking class myself. I would really enjoy passing on a love for cooking and being able to utilize our kid-sized kitchen!”

He said, “I have also been approached by parents of children entering kindergarten next year, asking about the possibility of having The DEPOT open for kindergarten after-school time.”

Luba Greene added, “We are looking into piloting this for the next school year. Waterford and Oxford elementary schools have been doing a kindergarten program for several years. It’s wonderful to know your child is right there at school and doing quality enrichment activities. Everybody wins: students, parents, teachers, the community, the world!”

A 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant from the Maine Department of Education funds the program. Its purpose is to keep kids safe, help working families and improve academic achievement by elementary students.

The DEPOT staff, NancyLee Piper and Sarah Hulbert, have been training in program management, planning enrichment activities, snack menus, field trips and meeting with teachers to begin planning academic support activities and a tutoring schedule.

Grant Managers Luba Greene and Jill Gustaitis have provided the training with assistance from the existing after-school programs; Melanie Ellsworth, 21st Century Grant director; the University of Maine Cooperative Extension; Community Concepts; and SAD 17 staff.

The DEPOT is looking for special interest program teachers, as well as volunteers to assist teachers and staff, supervise children on the playground, assist with homework assignments, prepare snacks and chaperone field trips. Anyone who has a special talent, interest, hobby to share or have been somewhere in the world and have a slide show to share is welcome.

For more information, phone Hebron Station School at 966-3323 and leave a message for The DEPOT staff.

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