Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Safekey instructors got a warm welcome from Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman on Monday morning as they attended the first day of training before the upcoming school year.
"It starts with you," Mayor Goodman told the group of about 600 instructors at Cashman Center, referring to how these instructors will make a difference in thousands of kids' lives.
Safekey is a before and after school program that is offered at more than 65 Las Vegas elementary schools.
This year, the Clark County School District announced it will be adding a literacy program to the Safekey curriculum. It's called APPLE Core and stands for All People Promoting Literacy Efforts and Counting Our Reading Efforts.
The hope is that it boosts literacy and encourages reading in Safekey sessions by making it fun and competitive.
"We are really trying to promote and increase literacy with our children and we know that out of school time is really really important and underutilized," said Lisa Morris Hibbler, deputy director for the office of community services for the City of Las Vegas. "We're going to allow the kids to have fun, we're going to provide a snack, but we're also going to do reading. It's in 15 minute increments and we're just going to help the kids with a competitive thing. So the kids can compete with each other and also across Safekey sites and across the valley so we're really looking forward to having that program."
Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said it isn't just about boosting literacy. This program has the potential to unlock motivation in kids and possibly help calm down the ones who are most disruptive at Safekey.
"Well, one student specifically found that Star Wars graphic novels were something he was so engaged in. That student literally changed his behavior from the day we put one of those books in his hand," said Superintendent Skorkowsky.
There are about 600 Safekey instructors attending the training session at Cashman Center this week, which should last two to three days, depending on the instructor.
The 2014-15 school year starts in the Clark County School District on Aug. 25.