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The School of R.O.C.K. Keeps Making Beautiful Music

June 27, 2018


SHREVEPORT, LA- What started as just an afterschool program almost ten years ago at LSUS has grown into a summer staple on campus, and a true difference-maker in the community. Dr. Kevin Jones founded the School of R.O.C.K (Reading and Organization for Cool Kids) program at Miami University in Ohio in 2005. During the program’s first year it was called ‘Extreme Makeover in Reading’. Dr. Jones saw the impact of the program on students at Miami University, and began the program at LSUS in 2009 upon moving to Shreveport.

Undergraduate (Psychology) and graduate (Specialist in School Psychology) students serve as tutors in the program, allowing them to establish bonds with their students, while creating practical opportunities for them in their field of study. Children in the program are between first and third grade and receive individualized tutoring and behavioral support.

“[The LSUS students] get to see how research doesn’t have to be boring. You can do research while you’re doing good,” said Jones.

The program is often tailored to meet the needs of different children. They can get tutoring in reading fluency, phonemic awareness, math, comprehension, and motivation. “Our goal is to continue serving Caddo and Bossier teachers while enhancing the program’s research productivity,” said Jones. School psychology faculty and students are currently working together on several research papers to communicate the findings for each individual program.

The program has shown its effectiveness on its kids, with approximately 85 children that have graduated from the summer program to date. Within the last three years, 65 children have enrolled in the afterschool program. The summer program, which had 9 children enrolled this year, held its graduation ceremony on June 21st. The LSUS Foundation generously donates almost half of the program’s funding. The other half of the funding is donated by the Specialist in School Psychology program faculty.

Chidiebere Okonkwo, a Psychology student, credits his upbringing in Nigeria for his passion in the field. “I love psychology, and a school psychologist influenced me to go further my education when I was working with children as a psychosocial rehabilitation worker,” Okonkwo said. “Education, psychology, and mentoring children made School of Psychology a great fit for me.”

Rusty and Rebecca Carter, the parents of one of the 2018 School of R.O.C.K graduates, enrolled their daughter in the School of R.O.C.K program to help her improve her reading skills before she entered the third grade. “The program was a great way for Brooke to continue to remain focused on reading throughout the summer,” said Rusty.

Rebecca believes that the program has helped Brooke to become more confident about the reading and math she’ll encounter in the third grade. “We’re hoping that the program will help her to keep up with her classmates in the upcoming school year,” Rebecca said.

Brooke states that she loves the school of R.O.C.K. program because the teachers were very helpful even when she made mistakes. “The teachers helped me to learn how to sound out words and solve math problems,” said Brooke.

The program has proven to change students’ attitudes toward reading. “We require them to do so much reading during this intense three-week period, that they lose their fear of it,” said Jones. “That’s a really great life lesson.”

By the end of the program students are picking up books on their own and using more refined critical thinking approaches to solve problems. Students in the psychology department get to help the kids grow and develop while enhancing their own academic and clinical development.

This win-win approach is how Dr. Jones knows the School of R.O.C.K program is continuing to make a profound impact, not only on the students in the program, but also the tutors, and the LSUS community as a whole.

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Media Contact: Wendell Riley, Director of Media and Public Relations 318-797-5108

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