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A Beating 'Drum' Of Success at Mabelvale Elementary

After school program teaches kids essential percussion skills, while offering classroom tutoring as well.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The drumline program at Mabelvale Elementary is helping students get better test scores and improved behavior. It is funded through the 21st Century after school grant. 

30 students are members of the Mabelvale drumline, which meets after school everyday. They first get tutoring in their general classes, then kids like Jonathan Reed are taught percussion.

"You always want to learn something and its fun too because everyone likes to learn," said the snare drummer.

University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff is where their leader played drums in college. He's not a formal teacher at the school, but the head custodian.

"Everybody is a teacher. I don't care if you are a cook. Everybody is a teacher." said drumline director Calvin Exson.

Mostly boys are in his program, with the exception of one girl, Jasmin Segovia

"I feel like I have power in myself and I feel like I can be confident," said the bass drummer.

Attitudes like that even help control behavior.

"I don't want to get kicked out, so it keeps me doing my work," said Reed.

There are also options for cooking, sewing, dancing, technology, and physical fitness in the after school program.
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