The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Scotland Program taking Potomac by Storm

As soon as the timer starts, students focus on their timed multiplication practice problems, hoping to improve.

Scotland Storm is a program that allows elementary school students, especially those in the Scotland community, access to extra practice in order to cover the necessary basics in school. The program started in the fall of 2013 and aims to incorporate learning through academics and athletics with the help of volunteer adult and CHS tutors.

“We want to bring awareness to the program and involve the community to help the students in the program,” student director and freshman Carli Needle said.

The pilot program occurs after school every: Tuesday through Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.  Students are provided transportation on an MCPS bus from Bells Mill Elementary School (BMES) to Cabin John Middle School (CJMS), where they are greeted with a healthy snack from founders Chris and Lauren Meade.  Students then spend one hour playing various sports, including tennis, basketball, soccer, baseball and general fitness, followed by another hour working on reading comprehension and math.

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Initially, Scotland Storm was focused on sports; however, after seeing the beneficial connection between sports and academics, the program shifted to target both aspects.

“I think that as much as athletics play in the program, most of the program has become more of a lens of what students need to learn, and academics and sports are the vehicles in which they are learning it,” said Roberta Wagman, MCPS coordinator for the program.

Scotland Storm chose the Scotland Community because it was under renovation, so they included “Scotland” in the name of the program.  Due to the construction, children were lacking a facility to complete schoolwork, which the program provided.

The principals of BMES, CJMS and CHS have supported Scotland Storm Bethesda Chevy Chase Baseball and Montgomery County Tennis Association have become involved by sponsoring the program.

Another unique aspect of the program is in the academic portion, where students get the opportunity to learn math and reading comprehension together.  These tutors mentor their student one-on-one for the entire year, allowing time to create a growing bond and everlasting friendship.

“It’s certainly tough at times, but I do enjoy it,” academic coach James Kim said.  “The best part is the reaction they get when they accomplish little goals, like addition and subtraction.”

Because the community has sponsored and supported the Scotland Strom with great enthusiasm, parents from other schools are calling to try to get their children enrolled in this unique and school-based program.

“Here are other families who have a greater access to other programs wanting to be part of our program, and it has been truly amazing,” Wagman said.

Teachers have reported an improvement in attendance, behavior, assignment completion and collaboration with peers.  The attendance to the program itself is also stellar, as the children allowed to attend by choice.

“What we’re really looking to do is first be able to maintain the program and be able to follow the students we first had from Bells Mill,” Wagman said.  “We’re looking at data, talking to teachers, seeing what skills they really need and working with those skills through the tutoring program and sports program and following them as they go on and progress into high school.  We’re looking at this as a pilot for other programs in other communities.”

A 2014 summer program will be implemented, but for now, the program needs more time to become grounded and see how the students grow before the Scotland Storm expands, according to Wagman.

“Charity begins at home, and this is home,” Wagman said.  “This is our backyard.”


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Scotland Program taking Potomac by Storm