G.W. Carver students get a little ‘SPICE’

Regina McMillian, facilitator of the SPICE After School Tutoring Program offered by Spencer-Penn Centre, displays a “Good News Pocket” to instructors at G.W. Carver Elementary School during an informational program about SPICE.

October 15, 2015

Students at G.W. Carver Elementary School are adding some “SPICE” to their school day with a new tutoring program offered by Spencer-Penn Centre.

The SPICE After School Tutoring Program, also known as Spencer Penn Investing in Children’s Education, is targeted toward children in second through fifth grades whose MAP (Measuring Academic Progress) assessment scores fall in the lower 5 to 10 percent range. The Harvest Foundation recently awarded SPICE a Pick Up the Pace! grant for $10,000.

Regina McMillian, SPICE program facilitator, said the birth of the program came about a year ago when the Spencer Penn program committee wanted to reach out to children in Henry County in the area of education.

After making calls to school officials and G.W. Carver Principal Judy Edmonds, “there was a lot of excitement” to get this program off the ground, McMillian said, who saw an advertisement in the paper for the SPICE program facilitator position just as she neared retirement in June.

“I had worked for 38 years in education and knew once I retired, I still wanted to keep my finger in the educational pie, so to speak,” she said. “I applied for the job and the Lord blessed me – I was hired.”

Finding support was one of the first duties McMillian was tasked to complete. “This grant from Harvest really helped us get on solid footing for this program,” she said. “We can do so much more as we begin than we ever envisioned we would be able to do.”

DeWitt House, program officer with Harvest Foundation, said the SPICE program represents a "thoughtful partnership among one of Martinsville/Henry County's valuable organizations and Henry County Public Schools. Regina (McMillian) did a great job to involve school officials from the start in planning this program that I'm sure will have a positive impact on G.W. Carver students and their families."

Most tutoring takes place in the Roy C. Stone Tech Lab, which just received new computers from the Stone family.

“As the program gets rolling, we hope to branch out to other schools in Henry County and maybe even other grades … We just have to see how it goes,” McMillian said.

Each Monday, students are transported from G.W. Carver by Henry County school bus and arrive at Spencer Penn around 3:15-3:30 p.m. Following a snack prepared by the school system's nutrition department through CACFP (Children and Adult Care Food Program) and a fun activity with McMillian, students join their tutors at 4 p.m. for an hour of individualized help through the use of computers and hands-on activities. Parents are invited to stay during the tutoring session with access to the Charles and Rose Hilton Library.

McMillian said she plans to have 12 tutors with a maximum of two students per tutor. That number may change as the program grows, she said. Tutors will communicate with teachers to work on specific assignments, subjects, and keep up with how students are performing with a “Good News Pocket,” which will be sent home with students following their Monday tutoring session.

“Spencer-Penn Centre has so many activities and programs for the community, and we’re hoping this SPICE program will be another jewel in their crown … because of the many wonderful things they already do,” she said.

Mary Jordan, executive director of Spencer-Penn Centre said, “We are thrilled to get the program started. Spencer Penn has always strived to improve children’s education, and the SPICE program will definitely help us achieve this goal.”

Students participating in SPICE will be evaluated through MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing, which is done three times a year in the fall, winter, and spring. McMillian said she hopes to see those scores soar for students being tutored.

“Teaching has always been a ministry to me, and you can’t just stop – at least I can’t,” McMillian said. “This program has afforded me something new … a fresh opportunity. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge.”

Edmonds said she’s very hopeful the SPICE Program will be a great benefit for students at G.W. Carver.

“We are excited to provide this service to our students and look forward to working closely with the educators at the Spencer-Penn Centre,” she said.

To find out more about SPICE and the Spencer-Penn Centre, call (276) 957-5757 or visit www.thecentreatspencerpenn.com.  


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