NAPLES DAILY NEWS Sun., Nov. 10, 1974 Scene Section F Marco Notebook -- Page 3F By JOHN T1PP1NS County Reporter IMMOKALEE - First graders who may be headed toward a bleak educational future are being given the chance to acquire learning and reading skills through a program started, this fall at Bethune School in Immokalee. Immokalee. ' C a l l e d E a r l y Childhood Preventive C u r r i c u l u m (ECPC), the program is helping 50 first graders through more individualized instructions and learning aids. ECPC is patterned after a program that has been under way in Dade County schools for three years. This school year, four other Florida counties including Collier adopted the program, according to Mrs. Florence Jelks, Bethune principal. The ECPC program is funded under a U.S. Office of Education Title 111 grant. Working with the students are two certified teachers, both of whom received service training over the summer in Dade County, plus two paraprofessionals. Although there are two separate classrooms.of 25 students each, team teaching techniques are often used between the two classes. According to the listed goals of the program, the ob- Self-Concept Special Program Helps 'High Risk' 1st Graders jeclives are to i m p l e m e n t a l e a r n i n g program emphasizing pre reading areas, improve the pupil's attitude attitude toward school and develop a positive self-concept through individualized instruction and learning activities activities and to implement an individualized developmental reading program. Last spring the Early Childhood Center at Pinccresl School in Immokalee selected 80 kindergarten students who, through their past school work, were considered "high risk" first graders. The students were later given several reading tests and 50 were selected for the ECPC program. The two teachers, Mrs. Shirley Hodge and Mrs. Judy Rou, say the students are progressing well under the- program. They are aided by paraprofessionals Doris: Townsend and Alice German. The classrooms look much like other first grade areas and according to the teachers, the students do most of a c t i v i t i e s other f i r s t graders do only emphasis on reading and individualized instruction. The main differences lie with the equipment and the teaching personnel. The ECPC students use aids such as System 80 reading machines, language masters, tapes and other tools not- available to most first graders. In addition having f u l l t i m e paraprofessionals in grade classrooms at Belhune is u n i q u e to the program. Other classes have regular teacher aides who come in for specfic times during the week but not on full time basis like the ECPC parprofessionals. Mrs. Jelks believes the program will be instrumental in keeping many of the students in school in later years. "If a student can't get the basics in the first grade, he is a drop out then although he will not actually leave school for seven or eight years," Mrs. Jelks commented. Pholos by Tipplns GETTING AN EARFUL Pupils Pupils in the Early Childhood Preventive Curriculum (ECPC) class at B e l h u n e School in Immokalee Immokalee listen to tapes while they follow aaong in their reading books. Read. Read. ,. ing is emphasized in the class where all students are in the first grade. PICTURE STORY - Doris Townsend, paraprofessional in one of the two ECPC classes, tells attentive pupils a story using visual aids. : G H I J K L M N U P U r O i u v w A i _ h i j k l m n o p q r s M i v w x y 7 LEARNING A NEW WORD - Mrs.Shirley Hodge, teacher of one of the ECPC classes, tells Ilie first graders about the word "an." The class features more Individualized instructors, a greater emphasis on reading and more use of learning aids such as tapes and reading masters. Mrs. Hodge reports the students are doing well in the program. HELPING HAND - Alice German, paraprofessional in the ECPC program, helps pupils with their work. Although reading is emphasized, students do all activities other first graders do and seem to enjoy the class. One advantage is fulllime paraprofessional such as Mrs. German to help assure that students receive more individualized instruction. instruction.