New programs to help kids at Bettendorf’s Neil Armstrong School

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Bettendorf's Neil Armstrong School has always been a frontrunner when it comes to year-round learning.

Now, the school will start new summer and school-year programs after receiving a federal grant. The $377,000 grant will pay for the new programs.

Inside Armstrong School on Friday, Kyrie DePover is helping her first graders to achieve each day.

"What is that word?" she asked a young reading student.

Kids seem to learn something new and grow every day in her class.

"It's very exciting for me to see the light bulb moments of the things they can do," she said.

The new three-year program will make sure that those light bulb moments keep shining brightly. Armstrong, with some 300 Pre-K to 5th students, is just one of nine Iowa schools to get the funding.

It will offer a summer program, then before and after school programs during the year.

"We can really personalize the experience for kids, so that they're getting help in what they need," said Dr. Lisa Stevenson, Armstrong's principal.

Armstrong School will be working with community partners in a series of activities. That will make the experience even more valuable for families that participate.

Nearly two-thirds of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches, so it points out the need for programs like these.

Kids will improve reading and language skills. Working families will get an extra helping hand during the hours between classes.

"Attendance, punctuality, positive behavior and having solid math and reading skills by the end of the grade is crucial," Dr. Stevenson said.

First year teacher DePover will also be helping kids in the program. It should be a positive way for youngsters to keep learning alive year-round.

"The summer program is a great way for them to be here, getting that education and getting that time with teachers," she concluded.

The school will invite families to participate. They'll begin the program in mid-June.