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An important program at Madison Elementary School continues to be essential in the academic and social-emotional development of the students it serves.

The afterschool Anchor Program has been in place at Madison Elementary School for more than ten years. Madison teacher Michael Kelly serves as the school’s Anchor director, and he said the program offers students tutoring, enrichment, nutrition and physical education.

“Anchor’s mission is to provide our children in the Madison community with activities that are educational and provide social, emotional and character skills,” he said. “This program is a way to teach our children healthy ways of living with the goal of more optimistic futures. The Anchor Program provides the students with the opportunity to make a positive impact on their lives.”

The program first began with a grant from the federal 21st Century Community Learning. Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kimberly Miller said the Anchor Program serves a critical function at Madison Elementary School.

“Anchor gives our children an opportunity to learn and grow during hours in which they would otherwise be most at risk from negative influences,” she said. “It’s been in place at Madison for many years, and it has ensured a high school diploma for many students who may not have received one. Anchor protects our students and keeps them on the path to a bright future.”

Kelly said support from the community has been important to the program’s success. He said Anchor organizers are committed to providing the students with activities that are enjoyable and educational.

“It’s fun and exciting for the children,” Kelly said. “We are fortunate to have the resources of the school, and that includes facilities, expertise of the staff, and support from the administration. We are also grateful to the Ohio County Schools Child Nutrition Department for the nutritious snacks and dinners for the students. We are so pleased to have so many in the community who are helping financially or with their time and knowledge.”

Kelly thanked the Charles and Roslyn Lando Foundation, The Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley, The Elm Grove Eagle Riders, Grow Ohio Valley, The J.B. Chambers Foundation, Michael and Lisa Riggs, Ohio County Public Library, Oglebay Institute, The Schenk Foundation, United Bank, volunteers from West Liberty University and The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of West Virginia. Kelly said an anonymous donor has also been an important catalyst in the continued success of the program.

Photo: Pictured from left during Madison Elementary School’s afterschool Anchor Program are teacher Michael Kelly and students Jayden Reed, Cheyenne Kaminski and Mark Hunter. The students are busy coding with Dash robots.

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