After-school enrichment program benefits students, parents

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

For working parents, making sure their grade school-age children are cared for after school usually is a battle.

Bergen Meadow and Bergen Valley elementary schools have found a solution that has become a hit with both parents and students.

APEX — Achieving Potential through Enrichment Experiences — is an after-school enrichment program that has parents, teachers and Evergreen businesses coming to the schools to teach children. Artful Journey, for example, offers art classes, and Stingers Soccer offers soccer classes.

The topics range from dance and karate to photography and musical theater to chess and robotics. In all, 33 classes are being offered this spring.

“It’s a great program,” said Julie Maus, a Bergens parent and a coordinator of the program. “It’s awesome because the kids can go straight to the classes after school without parents having to take them there. It’s great for working parents because that’s another hour they can work without having to worry about child care.”

Maus runs the program with parents Megan Curtiss and Betsy Semmens. The program is sponsored by the Bergens PTA.

Maus said APEX tries to offer classes that will appeal to a wide range of children. As the program grows, parents ask about additional classes.

A full list of classes is available at http://sc.jeffco.k12.co.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?se.... For information, contact Bergen Meadow at 303-982-4890 or Bergen Valley at 303-982-4964.

Wilmot dads, kids share breakfast, camaraderie

About two dozen dads and their children attended a special breakfast at Wilmot Elementary School one Saturday in November.

It was a morning for dads to hang out with their kids. It also was a morning for Wilmot dads to get to know other Wilmot dads.

“It gets (the dads) into the school and gets them a little more involved,” said Chris Heublein, a Wilmot dad who coordinated the breakfast.

Breakfast was simple and included breakfast bake, muffins, juice and coffee. Heublein said the Wilmot PTA, which sponsored the event, considered having a program to talk to dads about involvement with schools. But they decided that a fun, networking breakfast would be more beneficial to everyone.

“It was an hour out of their day,” Heublein said. “It turned out so well that we’re going to plan another dads breakfast in the spring.”

Marshdale second-, third-graders perform musicals

Imagine teaching music to second- and third-graders. Now imagine adding musicals to their learning regimen.

Cathy Baune, the music teacher at Marshdale Elementary School, writes and teaches musicals to both second- and third-graders each year. She says it’s a lot of work, but the rewards are well worth it.

“Most years I write (the musicals) myself,” Baune said. “I take a book as inspiration. This year, the musical was called ‘Garden Rhyme.’ ” She found poetry and rhymes, set them to music and taught them to the second-graders.

The garden theme goes along with a plant unit the children were studying in science.

“It takes awhile to teach (them the songs),” Baune said. “They want to perform and they want to be on stage, so the motivation is already there.”

The third-graders performed a musical called “Lighten Up,” which was a bunch of songs that were fun to sing.

“Performance to me is important because it helps build self-confidence and group cooperation,” Baune said. “It’s important to start teaching those skills when they’re young.

Have tips about schools in Evergreen? Contact Evergreen resident Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com.