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Watertown High may add Army youth program


The Watertown Family Y is looking to partner with Watertown High School to offer Army Youth Programs in Your Neighborhood for military students who live off post. First, however, the school has a hurdle to jump.

“For the high school portion, this has really been a challenge. Traditionally, high school doesn’t have an attendance process. We’re trying to establish that,” said Rebecca L. Reed, Y outreach branch director.

Because high school students jump from class to class, it is difficult to know how many students are supposed to arrive after school for the program that addresses “physical, cognitive, social and emotional needs of youth,” according to Academic support — tutoring and credit recovery — especially is being pushed right now, according to Army program specialist Larry Dixon. He was to visit Carthage Central School Tuesday from San Antonio, Texas, to collect attendance records. He said the data are compiled twice a year.

“We reimburse them based on the average daily attendance of Army-related youths for their after-school program,” he said.

Case Middle School has just gone through its first year of the Youth Empowerment Program. Ms. Reed said there is no timeline for when off-post WHS students will have access to the program.

The Y and the Children’s Home of Jefferson County were among the organizations that piloted the program four years ago when the Army Youth Programs in Your Neighborhood initiative was established, Ms. Reed said. The Y runs the Middle School Achievement Program at Carthage Central School District, while the Children’s Home works with Indian River Central School District.

“Part of the reason both organizations were selected was because of our ongoing relationship with Fort Drum,” Ms. Reed said. “I think it’s a great example of the community partnership between military families and the rest of the area and how the Army is continuing its outreach.”

The programs come at no cost for the schools and the organization. Ms. Reed said she receives $2,000 per student to offset the cost of materials and transportation. Leftover funds are sent to the school.

Other than the additional money, Ms. Reed said, schools have reported other perks, including higher grades and better attendance.

“We’ve gotten letters from school counselors saying that it gives the kids an opportunity to engage socially where they might be limited otherwise,” she said.

The Y is not planning to expand the program after the WHS program is finally established. “We’re trying to maintain what we have right now,” Ms. Reed said.

Space is limited. To sign up for the program for the 2012-13 school year, students or parents can call the Watertown Family Y branch in Carthage at 493-3286 or their school office.

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