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Bless their heart, just listen and watch the Republicans' obsession on reducing their taxes, a sentiment based in greed...

Bonner joins Oakwood Horizons program

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Michael Bonner speaks during the United Way of Pitt County annual meeting on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

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The Daily Reflector

Monday, June 19, 2017

A teacher who gained national attention when the Ellen DeGeneres Show featured how his methods captivated students will be among staff at a tuition-free summer program that serves low-income families at Greenville’s Oakwood School. 

The non-sectarian private school announced that Michael Bonner, a teacher at South Greenville Elementary School, will join the staff of its second Horizons summer program along with Amalyeah Davis, a teacher at Lakeforest Elementary, and A’me Saverino, a science teacher at The Oakwood School. It also is expanding the number enrollment size of the program, which starts today.

Bonner appeared on DeGeneres’ show in January by himself and in February with his entire second-grade class. The appearances have helped the school raise more than $90,000, and Bonner has gone on to share his teaching philosophy on local, state and national platforms.  

“We are thrilled to welcome our new staff and new students to the Horizons family,” Kris Arnold, executive director of the school, said. 

The program this year will serve 15 kindergarten students and 14 first-grade students from Lakeforest and Falkland Elementary Schools, according to a news release. It will add a new kindergarten class each year until it reaches full capacity with 135 students. 

“For six weeks, Horizons fights summer slide and builds confidence through targeted math and reading instruction in addition to music, dance, swimming, physical education and hands-on science instruction at The Oakwood School’s micro-farm,” the release said. 

The program is a tuition free summer academic enrichment program that serves Pitt County public school students from low-income families. The program, which started in 2016, will provide swimming and academic and arts enrichment to improve educational outcomes and narrow the achievement gap, the release said.

“I could have done a lot of things this summer, but I am excited about this opportunity to impact kids in critical ways while having the freedom to build and create my own curriculum,” Bonner said.

During the summer of 2016 on average, Horizons students gained six months of grade equivalency growth in reading, and Arnold says he hopes to see similar progress again this year.

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