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December 22, 2017

Marshall will get schools’ first after-care program

Photo/Don Del Rosso
Marshall Middle School Principal Dave Graham advocated for creation of the program, which will occupy this space after renovation.
It’s 100 percent about helping kids who perhaps don’t get the support they need after school.
— School Superintendent David Jeck
After-School Program
Four contractors have submitted bids to model 2,100 square feet in the Marshall Community Center to house an after-school program to serve fourth- to eighth-grade students:

Total Construction Management, Culpeper
• Bid: $92,000

Tito Contractors Inc., Washington, D.C.
• Bid: $128,101

Elite Development Inc., Springfield
• Bid: $130,710

Dominion Construction Group, Warrenton
• Bid: $158,300
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Marshall soon will get a first-of-its-kind, after-school program to serve fourth- to eighth-grade students.

Housed in the Marshall Community Center at 4133 Rectortown Road, the program will provide students tutoring, mentoring, computers with internet access and a range of recreational opportunities, school Superintendent David Jeck said.

“It’s 100 percent about helping kids who perhaps don’t get the support they need after school,” Dr. Jeck explained.

To his knowledge, the Marshall project will be Fauquier’s first after-school program funded by the school system and staffed by teachers, the superintendent added.

He hopes it will start in mid- to late February.

The school system received two, $40,300 grants — one from the PATH Foundation, the other from an anonymous, Georgia-based nonprofit — to remodel about 2,100 square feet of the center’s first floor.

Four contractors have submitted bids that range from $92,000 to $158,300.

“The difference” between the grants total of $80,600 and the ultimate remodeling cost “will be taken out of our contingency fund for some other building projects,” Dr. Jeck said.

Major improvements to the space call for creating a large “Computer Clubhouse” and a meeting room and remodeling the women’s restroom to make it handicap-accessible, according to school system Facilities Director Greg Livesay.

The space will accommodate about 25 to 30 students at time.

Marshall Middle School Principal Dave Graham deserves most of the credit for “making this happen,” Dr. Jeck said. “He had a keen interest in finishing that space, so they could use it for after-care tutoring and mentoring. And then give the kids an opportunity afterwards to play basketball or go out and play soccer or do whatever.”

Mr. Graham about 18 months ago first talked with the superintendent about an after-school program at the community center.

“It’s been kind of in the back of my mind,” said Mr. Graham, who soon will start a new job as the school system’s executive director of administration and planning. “I work here. I know a lot of the kids. They live close by, within walking distance. And there’s not really a lot of opportunities in that window right after school.”

Marshall students who live within walking distance of the community center “represent some of our socially-, economically-challenged kids,” Mr. Graham said. “There’s a lot of diversity in these neighborhoods that are right around the area. Those kids could benefit.”

The program would operate weekdays, probably 3:30 to 6 p.m., he said.

The area has three public schools — Marshall Middle and Coleman and Claude Thompson elementary schools — within about five miles of the community center, Mr. Graham noted.

Students who wish to participate in the program would get bussed from school after dismissal to the center, he said.

Besides tutoring and mentoring, teachers with wide interests or fields of expertise could share them with students, Mr. Graham said.

“You might have a teacher who would do robotics with the kids — things like that.”

Teachers, perhaps up to three, initially would be paid by the hour to tutor and supervise students, Dr. Jeck said.

Details about compensation still must get worked out, Assistant Superintendent for Budget and Planning Prashant Shrestha said.

“We don’t have every single detail yet,” Mr. Shrestha said. “Right now we’re focusing on construction.”

Teachers staff the after-school program would be paid through the school’s tutoring fund, which totals $7,000, he said.

The system’s surplus desks, chairs, tables and computers will furnish and equip to the space, Dr. Jeck said.

Fauquier’s Parks and Recreation Department, which manages the community center, uses a portion of the first, unaffected by the after-school project, to conduct pottery classes.

Both the school and the parks department representatives have discussed the idea that the space could accommodate community needs when not used for the after-care program.

“You could tap every group that lives in this community to get something out of this,” Mr. Graham said. “I think it’s going to be a great thing for a lot of folks.”

His staff has “talked in general terms” about how the space might be used, parks department Director Larry Miller said. “It’s early. There’s still a lot to be done” before committing to specific opportunities.

But, “it provides the department and the community extra space for meetings and programs for wide variety of needs in that part of the county.”

Community center Manager Patrick Workman likes the mix of opportunities the space will provide young people.

“I think it’s kind of a good way to pair physical, more traditional recreation with leisure, e-recreation they have now,” said Mr. Workman, a parks department employee.

Additionally, “it would be nice to have a three- or four-hour block for kids, when they can come in and use WiFi, because a lot of kids don’t have internet access.”

The community center contains the Marshall public library branch, which has computers with internet connections.

“The library looks forward to the activity” the after-school program “will bring to the Marshall Community Center,” library Public Information Coordinator
Lisa Pavlock said. “The Marshall branch has a robust children’s program that will partner nicely with the offerings being considered by” the school system and parks department.
 
The space eventually will get named, “maybe after a prominent educator within the Marshall community, or something like that,” Dr. Jeck said.

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Jim Griffin · December 26, 2017 at 9:59 am
Terrific idea and real leadership displayed by David Graham, who makes his appearance in this story in paragraph eleven. I've seen his fine work at the school he now departs for the administrative offices. A fine leader with practical implementation for which we are fortunate beneficiaries!
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