DELTA - As the summer progresses, more students are enrolling in classes at Delta Elementary School, home of an annual migrant education program.
Shirley Tulk, who has been involved in the summer program for more than 25 years, is at the helm again this year, enjoying the time with the staff and youngsters. "I absolutely love it," she said.
One of the main draws for her: making a difference in the lives of the youngsters. With excitement and enthusiasm, Mrs. Tulk tells about 10 youngsters who received their first pair of eyeglasses recently after getting eye examinations during a health fair. Now, she said, she's looking for a local dentist to provide some dental care to youngsters enrolled in the summer program.
The summer program opened at the Delta school June 23 and runs through Aug. 5. It's not too late to enroll eligible students from Fulton, Henry, Williams, and Defiance counties in the program. A recruiter will complete certificates of eligibility to enroll students.
Through the migrant education program, students receive breakfast, lunch, and a snack. The school day stresses reading, oral language, and math. Activities include field trips, such as a visit to the Delta swimming pool. Free transportation is provided. Upcoming events include an open house and ice cream social July 26.
"This year we have a new needs assessment that is done on the student," said Mrs. Tulk.
A federal requirement, the needs assessment is being implemented in Ohio this year, she said.
"We do a lot of testing so we make sure the kids are up to par" with their education, she said. Students whose parents are in agricultural-related work that involves moving from place to place as the growing season progresses, might be "right on grade level," she said, but if not, they are considered as a priority and receive additional instruction from teachers.
Program staff members include bus drivers, a nurse, cooks, recruiter, clerk, secretary, teachers, and teachers' aides. Enrollment numbers are up a bit from last year, but the numbers have been "very sporadic" this year, possibly because crops are two weeks behind.
"Weather plays a big part" in the enrollment numbers, Mrs. Tulk said.
Several students come from the Fayette area, she said. As of last week, the program had 85 students enrolled, but Mrs. Tulk said "we will get more" students in the coming weeks. Some will come to northwest Ohio from Texas, Florida, and Mexico.
Staff members encourage students to stay in school and complete their high school education.
The summer program is open to children in preschool through grade eight. After the summer school ends, a fall migrant education program is available.