Today, afterschool programs are garnering more and more local and national attention. Now, more than ever, it’s important to demonstrate the effectiveness of the academic and emotional support extended-day programs provide.
While a typical workday for parents might end at five or six in the afternoon, a typical school day ends hours earlier. For families without access to after-school care, this leaves a large time gap during which many children go unsupervised in empty homes. While many high schools and elementary schools offer before- and after-school opportunities for their students, middle school students often do not have the same types of extended day programs.
Years ago after seeing this void, Morton Magnet Middle School partnered with Boys & Girls Club of Midlands (facilitated by Collective For Youth) to create a ground-breaking, after-school program that addresses students’ social, emotional, and academic needs.
In the program, named Panther Pack after the school’s mascot, students spend half the time working on homework with tutors, and half the time participating in fun team activities, like sports or hands-on projects specifically designed to link back to their school work. Many of the hands-on projects are facilitated by outside providers. But perhaps the most important component of the program is the sense of belonging, and the confidence that students often gain with feeling supported and prepared.