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. […]
Who has time for another meeting on the schedule, right? But when Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) convene, they bridge the gap between school day and expanded learning to advance Common Core State Standards achievement in students with practical application after school.
PLCs are not a new concept. They have been used as a coordinated interdisciplinary team strategy among educators to ensure that students are learning what is taught and to help those who are struggling. A PLC will identify progress and obstacles while addressing how to reinforce or intervene, as necessary, to support student success.
To foster more structured collaboration to advance Common Core learning after school, PLCs are popping up to include teachers, expanded learning practitioners, administrators, and community-based partners. The goal is to collectively plan, implement, evaluate and adjust lessons in Common Core that are being applied in the hands-on learning environment of afterschool programs. Interdependent communication, collaboration and accountability are keys to a successful PLC. […]
If you think Porterville is a sleepy rural town with no opportunities for young people, think again. The Youth Experiencing Success (YES) afterschool program is innovatively combining Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) lessons with career pathways to expand students’ minds and options.
YES serves 13 elementary and middle schools that include more than 3,000 students who participate in the program. In addition to ASES funds, Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds have been invested by Porterville Unified School District to allow more students to benefit from the hands-on, project-based instruction after school. Even so, the program has a waitlist at every school.
STEAM lessons incorporate career pathways
Lily Hernandez, Porterville Unified School District’s afterschool program manager, explains that their programming is based on age-specific monthly thematic units. August features hospitality and culinary arts. September is about engineering. October is health sciences month. November involves digital design and multi-media. December emphasizes performing arts. January highlights law, justice and ethics. February explores education. March exposes students to environmental science and emerging agricultural technology. April introduces business and finance. May ends the year with career industries and a recap of the projects students like the most. […]