From struggling to the honor roll - WDRB 41 Louisville News

From struggling to the honor roll

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB)--They were considered "the worst of the worst", but many have made the honor roll.  Dozens of JCPS students have turned things around by joining an after school academy at Canaan Christian Church. The program targets boys in grades 2nd through 8th, who are struggling in the classroom.

"Both of my kids are ADHD," says Patricia Smith, who is a parent.

A few years ago, Smith adopted her two young nephews.  Her goal was to give them a better life

She says, "I thought I was done, and I've started over."

It hasn't always been easy, but Smith may have found the right kind of help at Canaan.

"And for them to be ADHD kids and for somebody to be able to keep them calm enough to do homework, that helps out a whole lot," says Smith.

The boys are in an after school program at Canaan Community Development Corporation.

Chris Watkins is director of the program and says, "It's called the Sons of Issachar academy."

The program focuses on improving everything from academics to conduct, and the results show it's working.  "All of their report cards have shown that they have worked hard and they've been dedicated to do better in school," says Watkins.

Students start the day with a snack and then it's on to the computer lab, but it's not all business and no play, according to Watkins.  "We kind of give 'em a break to kind of channel some of that energy in sports and then we focus on education."

The students come from schools across the city.  "Some of the young men that are going over there have been struggling at our school," says Steve Rickner, Myers Middle School Youth Service Center Coordinator.

The staff at Myers has seen a dramatic improve: here's just one example.

"We had one young man who went from a 1.8 GPA to a 3.4 GPA...and that's within a six week period of time.  So that's pretty significant," says Rickner.

And that's why parents like Patricia Smith are willing to make the sacrifice to get their children here four days a week.  "I'm at the school every day around 3:30 picking up my kids and we leave school and we head straight here," says Smith.

And this program is funded through the church and grant money and is open to anyone who wants to come.

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