Children at Sanislo Elementary are lined up on a Monday after school, busily chattering, eating a snack, and talking through how their day was at school. Why would any sane student choose to be after school four days a week for an extra hour? The answer is simple:
“It’s really fun,” After school student Chrystal* explained.
(Program manager, Amy Heuton checking students into After School All-Stars)
Monday through Thursday, City Year at Sanislo Elementary hosts an “After School All-Stars” program where students have the chance to enrich and supplement their school days. On Mondays and Wednesdays, students participate in hands-on math and reading tutoring by grade level and improve computer literacy skills. Tuesdays and Thursdays, students have the opportunity to choose enrichment clubs. This quarter’s clubs are basketball and friendship bracelets.
(Program Manager Amy Heuton tutoring 5th grade students in English Language Arts)
“You get to do a lot of learning. Sometimes, I need some more information with my work if I don’t understand it. City Year helps me,” one student reflected.
“There are a lot of fun activities, like bracelets and basketball,” another student observed. “Plus, it’s faster to do my work with City Year, and it’s more fun!”
Sanislo is already home to other enrichment programs, including teacher tutoring and a paid after school service. To complement these programs, administration and City Year decided to open the After School All-Stars program to students City Year works with tutoring during the day, called “focus list students.”
Sanislo AmeriCorps members tutor six students in reading and math each day. The after school program allows them to build on the skills taught in their sessions, to extend the rigor of the content, and to remediate when students don’t understand. The technology portion of these days helps students learn typing and computer interfaces in order to prepare them for the increasingly tech-savvy workforce as well as standardized tests that are now shifting to online-only platforms.
(AmeriCorps member Sam Posner teaching math to a 3rd grade student)
“It’s definitely awesome to be able to reinforce all of the content they learned in their sessions,” AmeriCorps member Tali Shalaby explained. “After school gives me the chance to really solidify their learning of concepts, give them extra practice, and focus in on students who need extra help.”
(AmeriCorps member Tali Shalaby helping a student with Math problems)
Enrichment clubs twice a week allow students to learn vital life skills, such as teamwork, conflict resolution, and inclusivity. The clubs rotate based on student interest, the next rotation starting in December. These enrichment clubs also provide important bonding time for students in the City Year program.
“They help us learn better and understand more,” one student reported. “We get to spend time with City Year and do fun activities, which helps me calm down. It’s something other after school programs don’t do.”
The After School All-Stars program is off to a stellar start, and continues to look forward to serving students in partnership with Sanislo Elementary School.