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School mentoring program seeks more volunteers

By Shelley Smith

Salisbury Post

GRANITE QUARRY — Mary Ann Karriker is proud of her staff of teachers, assistants and volunteers at Granite Quarry Elementary School.

But the principal says she and her staff don’t have the time they’d like to spend helping children strengthen their reading and math skills.

That’s where the community can help.

Karriker will make a special appearance before the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen Monday night to seek the help of community volunteers.

Karriker will offer a brief overview of the federal No Child Left Behind law and the requirements that students in each school make “adequate yearly progress.”

The Granite Quarry principal will explain where her school stands in the testing program and what she and her staff are doing to meet the needs of their children — and the federal guidelines.

She hopes that many members of the Granite Quarry community will come to the town board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday. The town board meets at 143 N. Salisbury Ave.

The school needs the community’s help, she said recently. The school needs volunteers who can mentor students in reading, math and writing.

“The greatest thing about being a mentor is that at-risk children thrive with positive relationships in their lives. Being a mentor would cost the least but mean the most to these children,” Karriker said.

Sandy Buechler, director of volunteers for Communities in Schools of Rowan County, says the mentoring program always needs volunteers.

Buechler was sitting with Granite Quarry student Taylor Helms, 10, reading a school book with her.

Taylor’s favorite part?

“Just spending time with her,” she said.

“My favorite thing about being a mentor is the relationship you have with a child, Buechler said. “I love watching them change and grow and enjoy the one-on-one time.”

A United Way agency, Communities in Schools will sponsor a training program for potential mentors on Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Hurley Room of Rowan Public Library in downtown Salisbury.

“The community here at Granite Quarry has always been involved and supportive of our school,” Karriker said. “Mayor Mary Ponds and the local fire department have mentored before, but we are always needing more.”

The No Child Left Behind accountability program requires constant development with the staff at Granite Quarry Elementary — and all schools.

Karriker has been principal at Granite Quarry for five years now and is still learning. “I learn everyday about the law myself,” she said.

“The superintendent and school system have done an excellent job in educating us about the (federal) laws. We all learn as we go through the program.”

***

To learn more about volunteering as a mentor in any Rowan-Salisbury school, call Buechler at 704-797-0210. Or contact your local school directly, and the school staff can arrange for mentoring a student.

***

Contact Shelley Smith at 704-797-4265 or intern@salisburypost.com.

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