Lehigh Carbon Community College isn't just benefitting those enrolled in its classes. As the Panther Valley School Board found out Thursday night, some of the youngest students are also getting an academic boost from the institution.

Jeanne Miller, from LCCC, addressed the board about the SHINE program, an after-school program for pre-k through fifth grade students that need what Miller called "a jump start" in math and reading. Since the program started in 2004, Miller said that more than 300 Panther Valley elementary school students have been helped by the program.

The program now reaches an area of 430 square miles and several school districts in Carbon and Schuylkill County.

"We work with your teacher and our teacher and we go into their homes and work on the programs you want us to work on," Miller explained.

The program is an intensive three-hour program that includes a meal and home visits between the educators and the students' families. Miller highlighted the improvements seen in the students in the Panther Valley School District in last year's data, including "93 percent of them improved in their homework; 85 percent in academic performance; 78 percent received an A or B final grade in reading; 82 percent received an A or B final grade in math."

Additionally, Miller said that 54 percent of the parents whose children were involved in the program ended up returning to school themselves, or at least taking non-credit courses at the college. Miller said that the SHINE model has been growing and is now being used at school in inter-city Philadelphia.

"My hope is that this can become a national movement," she said.

In other school board business, resident John Barna questioned an item in the Schneider electrical contract concerning the middle school gym lights. Part of the contract stipulated the replacement of those lights with a high efficiency fixture. Barna asked why the new building needed to be upgraded already.

Maintenance supervisor George Krajnak said that that was a mistake on the part of the contractor and those lights were already compact fluorescent fixtures. That will result in a $33,000 savings to the district.

Krajnak also said that DEP is working with a contractor to remove the hazardous materials at the former Verta building and expects that the building will be cleaned out by January.

The board approved the hiring of Catherine Raabe as a regularly scheduled part time cafeteria general worker at a rate of $12.65 per hour, and approved Rudolf Klein as a short term substitute physical education teacher at the high school at a rate of $135 per day. He will serve from October 26 to approximately December 23.

Also, Carol Ann Juracka was added to the list of substitute cafeteria workers, Tara Stauffenberg, Tanya Lilly, Kimberly Ann Valentine, Lance Cunningham, Brittany Herman, Diane Schnell, and Elizabeth Rossi were added to the list of substitute teachers, and Roobhenn Smith, John Hughes, and Ian Horton were added to the list of guest teachers.