On any given day after school you will find more than 30 Borah High School students in the library doing homework or getting tutored, thanks to an after-school program called the “Lion’s Den”.
“The best thing this program offers is the students aren’t home by themselves doing homework and are interacting with other students,” said Borah teacher Amy Everson.
The “Lion’s Den” was created five years ago to keep the library open after school. Library staff leaves every day at 3:20 p.m. and students would not have access to resources. The after-school program keeps the library open from 3:15 until 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday at no cost. Every week teachers and students volunteer two hours a day to give students a productive environment for doing homework.
“Students count on the program and know we will always be open,” said Pamela Atkins, an English teacher at Borah High. “Students are starting to create study groups and that is our future.”
Junior Naroz Rezaie moved to Boise in 2008 from Afghanistan. Freshman year he struggled with his schoolwork and started going to the “Lion’s Den”. He continues to take advantage of the program and receives one-on-one time with student tutors and teachers.
“I go because it’s free and it has helped me succeed with my education,” Rezaie said. “The tutors help me understand my work step-by-step.”
Nearly 10 percent of Borah High’s students are refugees and more than 40 different languages are spoken at the school.
“We do see more second-language students coming in for help,” Atkins said. “This is a great resource for students who need a lot of specialty time in developing language through their classes.”
On Monday, Borah High won a $500 contribution from the Idaho Education Association. A submission from Atkins was selected as a winning entry in the IEA’s Making a Difference contest. Teachers, parents and community members from around the state submitted online entries this fall.
“I submitted because I want to bring new tools to students — a special table students can solve homework problems on, a document camera and white boards for study groups,” Atkins said.
Last month, Jefferson Elementary School in the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District won a $1,000 contribution part of the IEA contest.
The IEA’s Making a Difference contest awarded $500 to each of the following schools:
Highland Elementary School, Craigmont: The winning entry was submitted by parent Kristen Wright, who requested the money go to the Highlands special education department to ensure quality education for children.
Mullan Trail Elementary School, Post Falls: Parent Michelle Garrett submitted the winning entry, she shared the growth experiences of her children over the last nine years and said that “with this prize the school can continue doing what it does best—put our kids first and ensure that Mullan Trail Elementary is maintaining momentum in preparing our children for their continued education”.
Desert Springs Elementary, Vallivue: Librarian and Media Specialist Katie Wiese submitted an entry highlighting the school’s Lunch Bunch Book Club and other efforts to make sure kids (especially in low income neighborhoods) have access to reading materials.