Principal Stephani Treadwell of Collet Park Elementary School in Albuquerque, New Mexico introduces a program that brings 4-H after-school activities to her students during the school day. "4-H Inspires Kids to Do" is produced by NBC News Learn in partnership with the 4-H Organization.
4-H Inspires Kids to To -- School Partnerships
STEPHANI TREADWELL, Principal, Collet Park Elementary: My name is Stephani Treadwell, I'm the principal at Collet Park Elementary School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I have been principal here for five years.
Over 75% of our students fall under the poverty line. When I arrived at Collet Park--40% of the students were hitting proficient on the testing, and 60% of the students were not hitting proficient.
So I started asking the teachers, "What is it? Why are our children not learning? What it came down to was they didn't have experiences. They don't go to camp. They don't go to Little League, and dance lessons, and all those things. It's just not an opportunity for them. I googled-- "experience in learning," And the first thing that popped up on Google was 4-H.
BRITTANY SONNTAG, 4-H Agent, Urban Youth Development: My name is Brittany Sonntag, I am the urban 4-H agent in Albuquerque, New Mexico. So my job is to cover all of the more nontraditional programs through the 4-H. Stephani came to our office with this idea of bringing the 4-H curriculum to her classroom.
SONNTAG: The goal was to bring the after-school model to the students during the school day. So many of the students in Albuquerque are unable to access after school programs due to them not having transportation. And so this way we were able to bring an after school program to students so that they can get those experiences that a lot of after school programs offer.
TREADWELL: At Collet Park we have 4-H on Friday afternoon between 1:00 and 2:00. We've regularly had sewing, woodworking-- we've had guitar and piano. We've had origami, and jump roping, and entomology, and geology. Cooking's been a normal. Weather, rockets, first aid.
Our attendance has gone up, and behaviors have gone down, and test scores have gone up. They've done their work, they've been at school-- and they've been a healthy part of the community.
SONNTAG: We've been working a lot to get the community to come into the school. We have many volunteers who would love to come in and teach, whether it's the guitar club-- sewing. So just people who are passionate about something who want to come in for one hour and teach kids.
Andy: what do you guys like best like best about 4-H?
Illana: you get to learn how to do stuff that you already don't know how to.
Jeremiah: we get to bring our stuff home and then we can practice what song we wanna learn.
SONNTAG: So it did initially start as just a 4-H Fridays program, but it's really grown so that now kids are getting 4-H in their class every day.
Freeman: it’s just fun learning how to do these cool things that you wouldn't probably gotten the opportunity to do without 4-H.
TREADWELL: the teachers have rolled it over into what they do in their regular classrooms. Whether it's social studies, or math, or language arts, or science. It’s seeping into every part of who we are at Collet Park.
Teacher: we are going to make flour tortillas.
SONNTAG: I think the 4-H program in the schools has had a tremendous impact on the lives of the students. They've become more outspoken and willing to share their opinions, they're more confident, they have greater leadership skills, and they're more caring about their communities.
Teacher: So what part of our New Mexico project have you liked the best?
Boy 1: The dolls.
Boy 2: The weaving.
Girl 2: I feel like this is going to be pretty fun.
Girl 3: I liked the weaving.
Girl 4: I liked making like the corn husk dolls, and I’m pretty excited about the weaving too.
TREADWELL: These teachers start seeing the students doing things-- that they haven't done before. Whenever kids are doing something' that they're really interested in, they can amazingly stick to it.
SONNTAG: Currently we have this program in approximately ten schools throughout Albuquerque. We also are working on some schools throughout the rest of New Mexico, and some other states are very interested in implementing this program as well.
SONNTAG: My ultimate goal? I want everybody in it.
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