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Richmond County school board approves swim lessons for second-graders

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All Richmond County second-graders will be offered free swim lessons during school hours beginning in January through the Family Y of Greater Augusta’s Splash program.

Splash is designed to prevent drownings by teaching water safety and swimming skills to children who otherwise might not receive formal lessons, according to Family Y President and CEO Danny McConnell.

Pupils will be taken out of class for about two hours a day for five consecutive days for the one-hour class and time for preparation and transportation.

The Richmond County Board of Ed­u­cation approved the program Tues­day by a 6-2 vote. Board Vice Presi­dent Venus Cain and member Helen Minchew voted against the program. Jimmy Atkins abstained because he is on the Family Y’s board of directors. Member Jack Padgett Jr. was absent.

Dissenters said the school system cannot afford to remove students from instructional time, while others said the benefits are worth the costs.

“From my perspective, I think if we can teach these kids how to swim and they know that lesson for the rest of their lives, it grossly overshadows 10 hours of reading instruction in the second grade,” said board member Frank Dolan. “You can catch up.”

While considering the issue, board member Barbara Pulliam said she polled about 28 educators who have more than 20 years of experience to ask their opinion on removing children from class for swim lessons.

Of the 28 polled, Pulliam said all but three supported the idea, especially because teachers can schedule critical reading and math instruction around the swim classes.

McConnell said all schools will be given the option to participate, and they will be encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity.

The Family Y will provide transportation to the facilities, and the $50,000 program will be covered by sponsors. He said last week that volunteers will provide swimsuits for families who cannot afford them.

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willie7
1047
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willie7 11/15/11 - 09:35 pm
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Congratulations to the 6
Unpublished

Congratulations to the 6 board members who approved the swim lessons. This project will give those second graders a lot of confidence when they complete the program.
Kudoos to the RCBOE for a wise decision!!!!!!

Little Lamb
49260
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Little Lamb 11/16/11 - 08:25 am
0
0
From the article, “Family Y

From the article, “Family Y President and CEO Danny McConnell . . . said last week that volunteers will provide swimsuits for families who cannot afford them.”

You can bet that 80% of the students will claim they cannot afford swimsuits. We've got Toys for Tots, the James Brown turkey giveaway, the James Brown toy giveaway, and now the YMCA bathing suit giveaway. Let's make it an annual event!

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 11/16/11 - 10:32 am
0
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You know what else gives

You know what else gives confidence? Being able to read and write.

GodisSoGood
1066
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GodisSoGood 11/16/11 - 10:51 am
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0
Once again....give people a

Once again....give people a free ride. That teaches them a lot, doesn't it?!?!?

Tots
26317
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Tots 11/16/11 - 11:24 am
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Free swim lessons during

Free swim lessons during school time was just wrong..Now the taxpayers will have to pay the bus drivers overtime to take them to those lessons..I'm not seeing anything free here<..>Are; is the Y going to send a van for them ?...LFBO>>NOT!!!

Chillen
17
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Chillen 11/16/11 - 11:47 am
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Nanny State strikes again.

Nanny State strikes again. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it the parents responsibility to teach a child to swim?!

allhans
24988
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allhans 11/16/11 - 04:47 pm
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What about the kids that have

What about the kids that have parents who cares enough to have already seen that they could swim.

Is this program not discriminatory?

augusta citizen
10068
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augusta citizen 11/16/11 - 06:28 pm
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Well to everyone but Willie7

Well to everyone but Willie7 Amen! Of course, they will say, as they always do, "but it's for the children!" harp music in background fading away slowly, geez....

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 11/16/11 - 06:53 pm
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"Of course, they will say, as

"Of course, they will say, as they always do, "but it's for the children!" harp music in background fading away slowly, geez...."

Funny how people go stupid at the mention of children isn't it? Politicians have been manipulating the intellectually lazy with that phrase for as long as I can remember.

jgforteachers
7
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jgforteachers 11/16/11 - 07:24 pm
0
0
“From my perspective, I think

“From my perspective, I think if we can teach these kids how to swim and they know that lesson for the rest of their lives, it grossly overshadows 10 hours of reading instruction in the second grade,” said board member Frank Dolan. “You can catch up.”

I am just wondering where Mr. Dolan has been hiding? Does he know that many students being promoted to 3rd grade can't read or write a proper sentence? I think swimming lessons are very important, but it is not up to the public schools to do the parents job and make sure their children learn water safety! How does he think Educators feel when they read this? They spend hours of their own time trying to prepare for class. Their salaries keep getting cut by furlough days and they spend more money each year out of their own pockets to buy supplies because the parents do not provide their children with just the basic supplies like paper and pencils. My spouse is a teacher and we are constantly buying paper and pencils because the students do not have them. We have had to purchase our own copy paper because they only get a limited amount per semester. Kids are so unruly. Half of your day is spent trying to keep order. The 2 hours out of the day he is talking about is not realistic. You have to take time to get the kids packed up and ready to go. Transport them the Y and then return them to the school. How long do you think it will take the teacher to get them ready to re-focus on learning? What is more important, teaching our children to read or teaching them to swim? How will this help them in their educational goals? Oh, I forget this is Richmond County and the goals are not that high! Come on Board the potential is there for every student. You have teachers that want so badly for these children to learn but they need the support of the School Board not stupid comments like this. If you have special funding for these things put it to better use by purchasing supplies for the classroom or using it for professional learning.

aubaug
62
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aubaug 11/16/11 - 08:03 pm
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Oh my! I am so glad that I

Oh my! I am so glad that I retired from the teaching profession! The classroom teacher will now need to re-plan her whole day due to this decision. Remember, she is still being held accountable for those test scores! She will now be in charge of planning for all of those students who submit medical excuses and religious excuses (Religious excuses, you say? Yes! Some children will not be allowed to undress in front of others, or wear a swimsuit in public, because, according to their religion, it is immodest.) During the course of the swim lesson week, other students' parents will submit notes that their children discontinue the course because they are afraid of the water; more planning for the teacher. Then, the school will not make AYP because little Susie and Johnny went out into the cool weather with a wet head, got sick, and the school will miss their attendance requirement ........... Is there anything else we can fit into that school day?

Willow Bailey
20605
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Willow Bailey 11/16/11 - 08:33 pm
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I was thinking how wonderful

I was thinking how wonderful it would be to prevent even one drowning death ..Gosh, silly me. As to missing part of the school day, the program could fulfill the physical excercise requirements for the day.

The program is voluntary and it isn't costing the taxpayers, why look for the negative in
everything?

alumna
10
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alumna 11/16/11 - 08:38 pm
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I taught swimming lessons at

I taught swimming lessons at the YMCA as an older teenager (having had extensive training to do so), and I'm concerned that 5 days is not enough time for the child to become a competent independent swimmer in that time. We often had children take 3 or 4 two-week sessions throughout the summer because they had been instilled with a tremendous fear of bodies of water by their parents/caregivers and needed all that extra time to break their fear. I do support this program, but I know from experience that 5 hours is not enough instruction time.

aubaug
62
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aubaug 11/17/11 - 06:22 am
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Oh, Willow Bailey, you are so

Oh, Willow Bailey, you are so right! If only Donna Reed lived next door--Blissful! If teachers had full control of their classrooms and they were respected and trusted enough as professionals to do their jobs like they used to do in the 50s, 60s, and 70s........If parents "tended to their knitting" and let the teachers, teach! REALLY TEACH! Then maybe missing a few hours out of the school day wouldn't be quite a big deal---Wake up! It's 2011. (Alumna: You are so very correct! Five days will not allow the learner to achieve a competent skill level.)

Willow Bailey
20605
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Willow Bailey 11/16/11 - 10:46 pm
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aubauq, I worry less about

aubauq, I worry less about whether Donna Reed lives next door, and more about how I live behind my own door.

Congrats on your retirement.

Willow Bailey
20605
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Willow Bailey 11/16/11 - 09:57 pm
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alumna, I understand what

alumna, I understand what you are saying, and you are right, 5 days, does not a swimmer make. I raised a champion swimmer and diver. She began at year 1 and took lessons every summer for years, even though she was swimming and diving like Pocahontas by age 3; I still made her go every summer through grade school. I wouldn't have been comfortable with anything less for her.

I am sure the Y will consider follow ups to continue their progress and offer the opportunities to others. It is certainly a worthwhile community effort.

If the 5 days teach nothing more, than...HOW TO GET OUT..if you fall in, it will be a tremendous success, would you not agree?

Everytime, I hear of a child drowning, I am so grieved by it.

augusta citizen
10068
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augusta citizen 11/17/11 - 05:49 am
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Willow, I'm with you about

Willow, I'm with you about hearing of children drowning, it is heart-breaking. I still don't think this program is what's needed though. School time needs to be learning time (scholastics). I'm sure there are programs outside our schools that offer swim lessons at discounts for those who need it.

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