This year, Dalton Public Schools launched two new after school programs for students in junior high school and high school. Cat City is for students attending Dalton Junior High School (8th – 9th grade), and Cat University is for students attending Dalton High School or The Dalton Academy (10th – 12th grade).
The program, funded by a 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) grant, seeks to meet the needs of students. After finishing the school day, students have time to work on their homework with support from teachers. Then, they attend classes such as an “Adulting 101” class, physical fitness classes, and more. There is also weekly instruction on literacy and math.
Russ Southerland said there is a concerted effort to connect learning to the real world.
“They receive instruction on literacy and math and how those skills apply to the real world,” Southerland said. “That’s our goal, we want them to see why they really need to learn these things.”
Students also are able to develop their leadership skills and participate in enrichment activities, including cinematography, podcast creation, gaming, theatre set design, and more.
“We also offer a social-emotionally focused club,” Southerland said. “Students learn how to take care of themselves, how to set good boundaries, that kind of thing. I feel like we have a good, well-rounded program.”
Navah Jordan is a senior at The Dalton Academy who is currently enrolled in the Cat University program. She said she is enjoying the after-school program so far and that it is more structured and planned out than she anticipated.
“All the teachers are very nice,” Jordan said. “They have things way more planned out than I thought they would for something after school like this.”
Jordan said her favorite part is one of the classes that is preparing her for a future in the adult world. She said in the class they’re learning things like writing a resume, changing a tire and cooking for yourself.
“I like the Adulting 101 class the most,” Jordan said. “I feel like it’s very useful. I would go to that class twice a week if I could. I love it so much.”
The Cat City and Cat University programs are still open for any student interested in joining. Any student or parent interested in learning more can reach out to your school counselor or email Russ Southerland at email@example.com.