Working Together to Support Expanded Learning
The 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. […]
Many of the young girls in Tehipite Middle School’s afterschool program in Fresno Unified School District live in foster care or come from challenging backgrounds. But, there is a beacon of hope shining for these female youth – the afterschool program.
By participating in expanded learning, these girls not only have a chance to have fun but develop important life skills in the process. The activities range from cooking to computing, but at their core they all are structured to engage, educate and empower the seventh- and eighth-grade students.
“We try to provide our young ladies with guidance—academically, socially, emotionally,” said Nancy Ramirez, the program’s site coordinator for the past 15 years, who also serves as a Fresno Unified special education pre-school paraprofessional. “We can encourage them to dream big, but the question is what are we going to do on our side to provide them with that direction and the skills to do so? We have to give them hope.”
Ramirez and her staff schedule a variety of activities for the program’s female participants, whom she lovingly refers to as “my girls.” To start, there is creative writing enrichment, which encourages the students to write poetry or stories as a means to express what they are feeling inside.
“It’s all related to their emotions, to the stress that they’re going through, or [even] the brightness in their life,” […]
Bridging the Gap Between Expanded Learning Research and Practice: A Conversation with Researchers and Practitioners
We no longer lack research needed to show the positive impact of expanded learning among students. The new challenge is understanding and communicating the findings and then putting them into practice.
Central Valley Afterschool Foundation interviewed out-of-school time learning experts offering both the researcher and practitioner perspective on this issue. Dr. Helen Malone (referenced in this article as HM) is the Director of Institutional Advancement and the National Director of the Education Policy Fellowship Program at the Institute for Educational Leadership. Dr. Ken Anthony (referenced in this article as KA) is Director of Professional Development for Connecticut After School Network. Dr. Michelle Perrenoud (referenced in this article as MP) is the Region 11 Project Coordinator with the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) in the Curriculum and Instructional Services (CIS) Division. Corey Newhouse (referenced in this article as CN) is Principal and CEO of Public Profit.
Question 1: What process do we need in place to ensure site staff are able to enact the identified effective practices of research and to engage in reflection of their own practice?
Corey Newhouse (CN): First and foremost, to have time for staff to learn about the effective practice and to offer opportunities to reflect on their own practice and […]