Cleveland elementary charter school succeeds - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Romona's Kids: Elementary charter school succeeds with unique approach

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The Intergenerational School in Cleveland The Intergenerational School in Cleveland
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Recent studies show that American students are not reading at grade level, and kids in dozens of countries do better than American students in math and science. But some innovative local charter schools are working to turning those statistics around.

The Intergenerational School on Cleveland's east side has a unique model for education. Classrooms are multi-age, across a three or four year age span.

"The kindergartners learn from the first graders, the first graders learn from the second graders," said student Stephen Conner.

"Older students or students who are better academically can help the students who need the extra help and then it solidifies their learning and also helps the younger peers," said Principal Silvia Kruger.

The school is also multi-generational, bringing in senior citizen mentors from the community.

"Part of the multigenerational aspect is to keep us involved with our community so we're not just focused on our lives but everybody's lives around us as well," said student Briahnah Streeter.

"Mostly they talk about their pets or their brothers and sisters and they just like to talk," said Margaret Galicz, a volunteer mentor.

Each class also adopts an assisted living facility to work with all year long.  

"We played bingo, and they shared what they did as a child themselves with us," said student Paige Pruitt.

Mentors also help with reading and math skills.

"They taught me how to add fractions, multiply, divide, subtract fractions, and helped me understand things I didn't understand," Conner said.

The approach also teaches life lessons.

"It's really interesting that you give them this perspective that you are going to be a leader and you have so many talents, use them," said Constance Sylvester, a volunteer mentor.

The program keeps the older mentors mentally fit, earning The Intergenerational School an award from the American Society of Aging. It's also Ohio's only elementary charter school to receive eight excellent or higher ratings from the state.

Students come from all over the city of Cleveland and the suburbs, and quickly figure out the learning never stops.

"I learned that I have to be more active with my community and deal with people of all ages because I never know what I'm going to get out of it," Streeter said.

Copyright 2014 WOIO. All rights reserved.

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