Eastern Elementary School Students "Adopt" Grandparents - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Eastern Elementary School Students "Adopt" Grandparents

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The Governor's proposed budget would cut about 4,000 teacher assistants from the classroom statewide.

But a Beaufort County school is coming up with a creative alternative.

Eastern Elementary School just started a program called "Grandparents are Great."

They aren't TA's but they're close. Teachers at Eastern Elementary have nicknamed them "GG's."

"This fall, the school plans to pair a grandparent with every classroom. They'll have two roles, acting first like a teacher assistant, reading to children and leading small group sessions. The other, simply being "GG."

"There are so many students here. We have over 700  students in this school and so you can imagine that many of them do not have a "GG"...Granddad or grandmother in their life," said Susan Hill, organizer of the program and a speech pathologist at the school.

Hill jump started the idea as a way to get the community to play a bigger part in the classroom. Dozens of volunteers have already signed up to help.

One of those volunteers was Debbie Ryals.

"My grandchildren call me grandma but I always liked the name GG so that caught my eye," she said, laughing.

All jokes aside...

"I like to give back. I'm a social worker and I know a lot of the kind of home life that kids have and I think just spending time with them will be good for me," Ryals said.

And with more than 3,000 teacher assistant positions at risk because of budget cuts, school administrators say the program has become even more of a "win-win."

"I think the schools are really taking a tremendous hit and its going to set us back. So if things like this can augment and fill in some places that will be good," said Ryals.

"Schools that are super schools...they have the community in working with the kids and the kids know that their education is valued by the community. Because the community people are in the school working and helping," said Hill.

You don't have to actually be a grandparent to volunteer. All you have to do is fill out a simple background check at the school.

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