Working Together to Support Out-of-School Time Learning

Addressing the Risks and Rewards of 3-6 pm

dancing-afterschoolThe bell rings, signaling the start of afterschool for a half million children in the Central Valley. For too many this time is unsupervised, marked by the risks associated with boredom and unstructured time.

The risky behaviors: bullying, drugs, gangs, alcohol, sexual activity, pornography, crime, suicide, and other self-destructive activities. […]

The Impact of Alignment on Student Academic Achievement

The positive student outcomes from participation in afterschool programs should inspire active support from school site principals and teachers, right? Unfortunately, the alignment between afterschool and school-day leaders is not always strong. What is the importance of alignment and how can it be strengthened?

A recent study conducted through a THINK Together and UC Irvine Doctoral Fellowship has the potential to incite greater alignment. It was featured in the new spring 2015 issue of The Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities. The study considers survey data from 156 respondents (78 school principals and 78 corresponding afterschool site coordinators), along with a data sample of 8,129 students, to determine the alignment practices in three key areas: Academic Resources, Communication and Partnership. The results reveal that high alignment between afterschool and school-day educators has a positive impact on student outcomes:

High alignment on the scale of Academic Resources had a statistically significant positive effect on English Language Arts scaled scores on the California Standards Test (CST).
High alignment on all three scales of Academic Resources, Communication and Partnership had a statistically significant positive effect on Math scaled scores on the CST.
On the flip side, a lack of alignment reveals a significant negative effect on scaled scores for Math.


Rural Districts Adopt California Summer Learning Model

There are a couple of new kids on the block offering rural summer learning programs this year. In fact, they are among the first rural districts in the Central Valley to pave the way for an integrated approach to summer learning. And while they may be new, they will be implementing a proven model that is sure to benefit hundreds of students.

Fowler Unified Summer Enrichment (FUSE) and Kerman Enrichment Summer Adventures (KESA) will adopt an innovative statewide model implemented by a Fresno County Office of Education FRESH partnership. Now in its sixth year, the summer learning model is a refreshing departure from traditional summer school.

The five-week program includes a variety of creative components that address the summer learning loss commonly experienced by students from low-income households:

Reading and Fluency – the program theme is based on an exciting age-appropriate novel that students enjoy reading, discussing and bringing to life. Thematic applications of the books throughout the program include leadership, anti-bullying, personal responsibility, food choices, fitness and Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM).
STEM Advancement – offered through a partnership with Fresno State, STEM skills development will include paper circuit lessons where youth will make paper circuits and lighted play dough figures.
Physical Fitness – 60 minutes of fun exercise each day that involves lively music, swimming lessons and a variety of activities. Elective classes in dance and recreation are offered in the afternoon as well.
Health and Nutrition – along with other health and nutrition lessons, youth will explore Slow-Go-Whoa strategies to determine how to ensure their meals provide needed nutrients.