Escambia County Middle School has a nice dance studio, as well as dozens of students who look forward to refining their dance moves. What the school doesn’t have is a qualified instructor who can help make that happen.
The mirrored-wall studio does get some use, as Lisa Wells of YoGo Kids in Baldwin County, has contracted to teach yoga classes, and about 30 students have taken advantage of that opportunity. Wells is also a certified ballet teacher, but the local teens and ’tweens are apparently not looking to see how well they spin and jump in a tutu.
“Lisa is certified to teach ballet, but what we’re actually looking for is somebody who can teach hip hop, crunk, African dance, stomp, things like that,” said Melissa Daniel, lead teacher for the ECMS after-school program. “That’s the type of dance the children are most interested in; that’s what they’re asking for.”
The ECMS program, funded by Project ASTEM (Alabama Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) grants, currently has 195 registered participants. Not all of them are interested in learning to dance.
“We need an art teacher to teach the fundamentals of art,” said Daniel. “We need someone who can do it on a weekly basis. We have the training necessary to get them started, we have the supplies. We’re trying to build the program so every day of the week (Monday – Thursday) we have something different.”
She added that there is also need for someone to teach carpentry or photography. She said volunteers are badly needed, but pointed out that the school would contract with professionals who might want to incorporate the after-school program into their work schedules.
“We need people who can come and teach at least one day a week,” Daniel said. “It could be a retired teacher, it could be someone who is not a teacher but has a lot of experience. They can either volunteer their time or it can be a contract position.
“Parents can volunteer to help at any time, but volunteers from the community have to be fingerprinted. Basically, we’re looking for people who have experience and can come in the afternoons to help us.”
Anyone who is interested in helping out may call the school at 368-9105 to set up a meeting with Daniel or Marcia Adams, the program director.