CITY Program now SPAN of Chilton County

Published 10:57 pm Thursday, February 11, 2010

What was known as the CITY Program of Chilton County for years is now known as SPAN (Special Program Achievement Network).

The state-mandated change took effect shortly after the program went under the umbrella of the Department of Youth Services. It was formerly under the state’s two-year college system.

The purpose of SPAN is to help students who have fallen behind in Chilton County’s public schools to catch up with their grade level or earn a GED in preparation of college or the work force. Students enter the program through the county’s juvenile court system.

“I think the public needs to be aware of what this program does,” said Ann Baker, SPAN Advisory Board member. “They give (students) love, care and attention.”

SPAN is a year-round program that holds a formal graduation ceremony each August. Six staff members work with each student to give them one-on-one attention.

There are currently 24 students participating, each of which is enrolled in a Chilton County public school.

The capacity is about 32 students.

In addition to academics, students also benefit from educational field trips to places like the State Capitol and The Water Course. They also hold cookouts and other activities they would not otherwise get to do.

Students may earn incentive points through academic performance, good behavior, group participation and physical education. Points may be used to “purchase” items in the school’s incentives store.

These items can be personal equipment, such as sporting goods, CD players or even Christmas gifts for relatives.

“They can buy them with their points,” Tidwell said. “They don’t have money most of the time.”

Students also use points to wear their choice of jeans and a shirt to school on certain days. This project is sometimes used as a fundraiser.

Tidwell said people in the community are welcome to donate gifts and monetary items to the incentives store.

More fundraisers are planned in the near future, such as a monthly car wash.

For more information about SPAN of Chilton County, or to make a donation, contact Tidwell at 755-2779.