Youth Service to Community Increasing Each Year at Coalinga High School

What do the Horned Toad Derby, Latin Dancing and the Coalinga Chamber of Commerce have in common? All of them engage the students of Coalinga High School’s After School Program! The Coalinga High School After School Program serves students from the communities of Coalinga and Huron on the west side of the Central Valley. As both a rural and Title I school, the Coalinga High School After School Program is poised to provide youth with engaging enrichment activities to which they might not otherwise have access. “Our program is student-driven so we strive to provide classes that will be meaningful to them,” explains Sharon Arce, Coordinator of the Coalinga High After School Program. “[We offer] classes such as cooking, improv, guitar and drama to provide students with real world experiences that allow them to master lifelong skills.” One bright spot of the Coalinga High School After School Program is its service to the community exemplifying the Collaborative Partnerships Quality Standard for Expanded Learning outlined by the California Department of Education. For the past several years the leadership team has partnered with the Coalinga Chamber of Commerce. Students provide support for the Chamber’s Annual Dinner, present at monthly luncheons, and help with some of the big community events, such as the Horned Toad Derby. This partnership is quite the success as evidenced by the increase in youth involvement and service to the Chamber each year. […]

Expanded Learning Community Steps Up to Address the Teacher Shortage

California’s Central Valley has enjoyed some much-needed rainfall this season to relieve the 2015 drought. But now, Valley communities find themselves hoping to address a different type of drought: teachers. Indeed, a teacher shortage is upon us. It seems like yesterday when we were faced with a recession and more than 30,000 teachers were laid off. Now, with an increased K-12 student population; higher student-to-teacher ratios; fewer college students entering teacher education programs; one-third of teachers approaching retirement; Common Core instruction and testing debates; and various forms of media promoting the negative side of teaching; we find ourselves amid a distressing deficit of qualified teachers. Educational leaders now turn to expanded learning practitioners—including thousands of afterschool and summer program leaders and tutors—as one solution to help fill immediate and long-term teaching gaps. Preventing the Central Valley’s most vulnerable students from negative impact Dr. Paul Beare, dean of the Kremen School of Education and Human Development, is concerned about “the huge decrease” of people enrolling in teaching credential programs. In fact, he reveals that in 2008, 44,600 people enrolled in teacher preparation programs in California compared to only 19,000 who enrolled last year. […]

Porterville Unified says YES to STEAM and Career Pathways Afterschool

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. […]

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