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Foster Grandparents Provide “Another Heart” in the Classroom

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Foster Grandparents Provide “Another Heart” in the Classroom
Posted on 01/20/2016
This is the image for the news article titled Foster Grandparents Provide “Another Heart” in the Classroom“Foster Grandparents” who volunteer in the Portland Public Schools were honored this week by the Portland Board of Education and Interim Superintendent Jeanne Crocker.

The recognition came at the board’s Jan. 19 meeting and included praise from teachers. One teacher said, “Having a Foster Grandparent means another pair of eyes and another heart in the room.”

Results from annual evaluations completed by teachers show that:

• 89 percent report that a Foster Grandparent was significant in influencing the gains made in students' reading skills

• 82 percent report that a Foster Grandparent was significant in influencing the gains made in students' math skills

• 92 percent report that a Foster Grandparent was significant in influencing the gains made in students' self confidence

Through the Opportunity Alliance Foster Grandparent Program, adults 55 and over volunteer to mentor and tutor children under the supervision of teachers and staff.

Presumpscot Elementary School first-grade teacher Krysten Flaherty described Foster Grandparent Jane Sandora as “a gift” to the school.

“Jane is wonderful,” Flaherty said. “I am thrilled with her impact on our classroom environment, support and willingness to ‘do it all’! She is a gift to our class and the school. Jane is a flexible, willing, committed individual. For years I did it all on my own – now that I have Jane as a FG in my class, I can’t imagine it without her. What a resource – for me, for my students, for my team and our school!”

East End Community School first-grade teacher Kristie Hewey also had high praise for Foster Grandparent Beverly Libby.

“Having a foster grandparent means another pair of eyes and another heart in the room,” Hewey said. “Bev is so thoughtful and every day she looks and listens for the children who need a little boost. In the beginning of the year she spent a lot of her time with a little boy in my room who was nervous. He couldn’t sit still and he often was touching other kids or things in the classroom. Bev watched and noticed and cultivated a special relationship with him. He began to sit near her and she would quietly help him focus. As the year went on, he lost his nervousness, made friends, and began to be able to learn. He no longer needs her by his side and she quickly found others in the class who need her attention more. I firmly believe that Bev’s quiet but positive presence made all the difference.”

The following Foster Grandparents who volunteer at the Portland Public Schools were recognized by the board:

East End Community School: Jackie Burris; Beverly Libby; Maryann Maloney; Joan Butterfield; and Elaine Hammond

Longfellow Elementary School: Beverly Pittman; Sandy Manter; Jeanette Graham; and Christine Blauvelt

Lyseth Elementary School: Peggy Eaton; Sherry Wilcox; Shirley Young; Kathy Theriault; Betty Trynor; and Carol Brady

Ocean Avenue Elementary School: Lynne Goodwin

Presumpscot Elementary School: Eleanor (Ellie) Rodgers; Jane Sandora

Reiche Community School: Nasir Uddin Ahmed; Ummay Salma Rani; Sandi Shubert; and Jane Fox

Riverton Elementary School: Betty Emmons; Vera Delaney; Jyll Paulin; Stella Dalrymple; Jane Noone; Judy Minervino; Judy Baldinelli; Fran Seeley; and Vincent Mwamba

Lyman Moore Middle School: Robert Stewart

Portland High School: Alan Hodder; and Sally Jurgeleit

Through the Opportunity Alliance program, Foster Grandparents serve not only in schools but also in child development centers, Head Start programs and in homes with families with special needs throughout York and Cumberland counties and in southern Oxford county. Volunteers provide services anywhere from 15-40 hours per week during the academic year and year-round programming.  From Sept. 1, 2014 to Aug. 31, 2015, 38 Foster Grandparents volunteered 19,617 hours, supporting 841 children in 11 schools during the academic year and 6 summer programs.