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Elementary School Principals Applaud Afterschool Programs

12/19/2001:   Afterschool programs in elementary schools are growing rapidly and are viewed as successful by the principals of those schools. Of 800 elementary school principals polled, 67% have some form of optional afterschool programs in their schools. Most programs are recent: 59% say their programs began within five years, and 29% began within three years. In an informal survey in 1988, only 22% of principals said their schools had these programs. Another survey in 1993 found only 28% of all afterschool programs were in public schools.

The afterschool programs provide additional opportunities for learning and enrichment as well as reductions in crime by youth who would otherwise be without supervision. Of the principals in elementary schools that have such programs, 90% say the programs are successful. Half of those who do not have programs are thinking of starting them. Details of the survey are available at www.naesp.org/afterschool/survey. The full 120-page report is available as a pdf file or hard copies can be ordered. The survey was conducted by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) as part of an initiative with a consortium that plans to publish a Web-based National Notebook of Promising Practices in Afterschool Programs.

The UCLA Center for the Study of Evaluation (CSE) released, in June 2000, a longitudinal study of the effects of one type of afterschool program at the elementary level. The CSE study evaluated 20,000 students from 24 elementary schools that use the Los Angeles Better Educated Students for Tomorrow (BEST) afterschool enrichment program. Compared with nonparticipating students, participants were absent fewer days; after the second year in the program, their grade point averages increased an average of 28% in math, science, social studies, reading, and composition; and 85% of participants liked regular school more. For more information, or to download the pdf file of CSE’s 21-page report, "A Decade of Results: The Impact of LA’s BEST After School Enrichment Program," go to www.lasbest.org/learn/eval.html.

A comprehensive list of organizations and links related to children, health, education, communities and schools, crime prevention, government programs, information clearinghouses, and other topics is available at "Great Sites," www.naesp.org/links . For additional information on other programs and funding resources, go to that page, then click on "Grant Info-Link" or "Learning Links"

New Family-School Connection Network Seeks Additional Participants

An example of innovative programs announced by NAESP is Family School Connection (go to www.naesp.org/whatsnew.html, then click on MetLife announcement; or go directly to www.familyschoolconnection.org.) The National Coalition of Advocates for Students (NCAS), comprising 20 child advocacy organizations in 14 states, sponsors the project. Over three years, the program—funded by MetLife Foundation—will identify 30 public school partners to participate in an interactive network. Schools must be committed to developing and sustaining family involvement programs that respond to the interests and needs of traditionally underserved students and their families. Successful parent outreach programs will be facilitated by linking them both with each other and with support from project consultants. Nominations may come from schools, school board members, professional educators, community leaders, or student family members. To qualify, each school must serve a diverse population; the principal and a core group of faculty must be committed to participating in building strong family/school partnerships; leaders of two or more community organizations must provide letters of recommendations; and the school must be willing to host a site visit as part of the selection process.

The deadline for applications to participate in Year 1 has passed; however, additional applications will be accepted through October 31, 2003.

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