Posted in BOOST Breakfast Club on May 17, 2013 by Kristin
The tug-of-war between the priorities of quantity of and quality of out-of-school time programs has finally crossed the mud pit. With millions of children still without a place to go afterschool, this conversation has vacillated between the two opinions. But when research shows that children in low quality programs have no better outcomes than children who are unsupervised during the same time, quality must be the focus (Child Trends, 2010-19). Research recently published in Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success (Peterson, 2013) expands on the evidence of impact of excellent programs, giving even more steam to the argument for quality first.
We cannot be fooled into thinking there are vast numbers of programs meeting high quality standards. There are out-of-school time sites tucked in community centers, apartment complexes, faith based organizations, and even on school campuses that lack the deep quality needed to truly create lasting positive impact. With such ample and ongoing research, why is it that there are so many that are not? Certainly the lack of importance is not to blame.
Posted in BOOST Breakfast Club on April 12, 2013 by Steve Amick
A few weeks ago, Jan and I had a meeting with our son's preschool teacher to review Oliver's Kindergarten Readiness Assessment. I didn't even know there was such a thing. When I was a kid, being "Kindergarten-ready" meant you were five. Today, apparently, it's all about whether or not you can properly grip a pencil. I thought that was something you were supposed to learn in Kindergarten! Here, we think we're raising this prodigy because he uses phrases like "on the other hand" and "speaking of that," but it turns out he's the only kid in class who can't write his own name. After registering Oliver in school (which now entails a urine sample, by the way – for the child, not the parents), we attended a Kindergarten orientation that featured their "reading intervention" program – for the ones who enter the system unable to read. Because, you know, if they're not reading on day one, how can they possibly get through constitutional law by the second semester, right? I felt woefully negligent. My son hadn't attended his first day of public school and he was already on the remedial track.
All right, I'm exaggerating a bit, but my point in sharing this story is that I'm finally getting the opportunity to see the work we do from a parent's point of view. I have spent twenty-one years of my life providing programs to students and families. Now, suddenly, I'm standing on the other side of the counter, and it's given me a new perspective on customer service. We are engaged in what my good friend Bob Cabeza refers to as "the sacred work" of caring for other people's children. And I can tell you, the first day we dropped Oliver off at that preschool, entrusting him to people who, despite being highly qualified professionals, were not members of his immediate family, we understood exactly how sacred this work is. Parents, except in the most rare and unfortunate cases, love their children more than anything else in this world, and when you take responsibility for them, you become a part of their family.
Posted in BOOST Breakfast Club on April 05, 2013 by Gaby Baeza
I've been a long-time advocate for gender-responsive services for girls, but have repeatedly been asked, "what about the boys?" Well, I feel the time has finally come to begin to address the issues that impact boys' development (and trust me, there's quite a few). This blog is by no means inclusive of EVERYTHING we need to know and continue to learn about in regards to connecting with our male students, but it's a start, right?
So, what about the boys? Most school staff tell me similar stories that go something like this: "They're just not making it. I have nowhere to refer for services. The kid needs a mentor. His dad is not in the picture- his mother is overwhelmed. He's just not motivated to learn! He'll be swallowed up by gangs by the time he gets to middle school. His grades are so low, I fear he'll dropout. I'm not sure how to help- what do I do?
Posted in BOOST Breakfast Club on March 27, 2013 by Jane Sharp
"There is a critical need for afterschool programs that can receive and handle students with special needs. I believe that programs could be strengthened by providing training for caregivers in such areas as autism and ADHD, along with encouraging practices that would provide an appropriate adult-to-student ratio to enhance care options for students with disabilities."
Taking the Temperature of Afterschool, New Jersey School Age Care Coalition