Carson school receives national recognition |

Carson school receives national recognition

Teri Vance

A film crew has spent the week at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School, documenting its Dolphin Club, named the best afterschool program of its kind in the country by the U.S. Department of Education.

The video will be used to train other schools across the country in developing successful academic remediation and enrichment program, like the one at Bordewich-Bray.

“The reason why we’re here is to do better in school,” explained Gwen Jimenez, 9. “We learn math and reading and things like that.”

The program was nominated for the recognition by the Nevada State Department of Education and was selected as the top from among 100 other applicants.

“We were really impressed that we were a finalist,” said principal Valerie Dockery. “Then we find out we were chosen as the No. 1 program. This has been a phenomenal year.”

The program was selected from among 21st Century grant recipients available to schools designated as Title 1 because of a significant population of children from low-income families.

The Dolphin Club begins just after school at 3:15 p.m. and runs until 4:30 p.m. when students either go home or to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, which serves as a partner to the club.

“One of the strengths of our program is all of the partnerships we have,” Dockery said.

Those partnerships also include the University of Nevada, Reno’s Cooperative Extension. Community-based instructor Jim Bartellos comes by once a week to do science enrichment.

“I’ve worked with different programs in different counties,” he said, “and this is the best run program I’ve ever been involved with. The kids are very eager. The teachers are very interested. The principal is interested. The leadership is outstanding.”

The school has received other accolades this year, including a “High Achieving” designation through the federal No Child Left Behind mandate. It also was named a 2010 National Title I Distinguished School.

“It just says a lot about the staff we have here and all the work they do,” Dockery said.

Fourth-grader Alejandro Cabrera also credited the staff with the success of Dolphin Club.

“It’s not just us, it’s the teachers,” he said. “The teachers stay here to help us rather than going home. We have to thank the teachers.”