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Hartley Elementary Students are getting college, character, and career ready.

With the help of a $3 million federal school improvement grant, the school is kicking off Smarty Pumps/Smarty Loafers Academy.

"We saw that many of our students were being suspended for fighting, out of school suspensions, so we knew that something needed to change," said Sheila Garcia, principal.

Garcia said part of the program includes 10 parent workshops that focus on topics ranging from helping a child learn in the 21st century, to health and wellness. On Saturday, a University of Georgia Health Navigator is going to teach parents about the Affordable Care Act.

"Helping them to understand the health and wellness program, and helping them to see how to sign on, or any technical support they may need," said Garcia.

Garcia says its important that parents are up-to-date.

"Because many of our students need the assistance, our parents need the resources, and we want to open up doors and avenues to educate and inform parents," she added.

Garcia said part of the academy includes collaborating with a transitional teacher who works with over-age fifth graders.

"Typically in the fifth grade, the average age is like 11 years old. But here we have quite a few students that are 13 and 12. We have 17 kids that are over-age," said Erwin Clowers, a transitional coach.

Clowers helps these kids brush up on subjects like math and reading.

"Basically what we are doing is trying to enhance their skills so we can move them to the sixth grade next fall," said Clowers.

With Smarty Pumps/Smarty Loafers the tigers will be roaring again.

In conjunction with teachers, the academy is run by educational consultants Julie and Eddie Fincher.
This Saturdays parent session runs from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

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