In the Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District, over 50 percent of families come from an agricultural background, rarely having experiences that might seem “normal” to other communities, like going to the zoo, or taking dance classes. Upholding academic standards can be an even greater challenge, with outside forces discouraging students from staying in school or getting good grades. That’s why the After School Education and Safety (ASES) for K-8 and After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) for high school afterschool programs have proven to be such a success.
From lunchtime basketball tournaments, to competitive dancing, weight-lifting classes, fashion projects using duct tape, trips to Yosemite, peer tutoring, and involvement with outside groups such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters, this district has put in countless hours to making sure their afterschool programs have benefited the lives of students, and in turn, the community. (more…)
The art of cooking has garnered greater interest in the last decade—with obscure chefs becoming celebrities and household names, glossy cooking magazines lining newsstands, and the presence of several cable network channels dedicated to the art and science of cooking, 24-hours a day!
Yet, there is an entire generation of youth who do not know where their food comes from, how to cook it, how to eat for health, or the benefits of learning more about the food industry.
In an era of Jamie Oliver’s popular television show, Food Revolution, where famed chef Oliver revamps school lunches and educates communities on healthy food options, afterschool programs have begun to tap into the minds and appetites of their students using food and the art of cooking.
Connecting to our local bounty
With a region rich in agriculture and food industries, afterschool programs in the Central Valley are taking advantage of their local resources to help students connect with food in a new way. After looking for new interactive programs to implement, Le Grand High School in Planada began a culinary arts program afterschool, with support from Central Valley Afterschool Foundation. (more…)
With support from the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation and the Region VII Office, the Central Valley Afterschool Foundation developed a comprehensive High School ASSETs (After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens) Learning Community for Region VII site coordinators.
Under the direction of Kim Boyer, the Learning Community offered technical assistance to 37 high school afterschool programs in the form of workshops, program assistance, site visits, assessments, monthly training, communications, knowledge sharing, and grants management information. (more…)
Here is a brief overview of the high school ASSETS program guidelines in California.
21st Century Community Learning Center’s After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens Programs (21st CCLC ASSETS)
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program (21st CCLC), authorized under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), received its first appropriation in 1996. In 2002, the California Legislature established the 21st Century High School After Safety and Enrichment for Teen Program (ASSETS) to address the specific needs of high school aged youth. California is unique among other states in that they have earmarked 1/3 of their 21stCCLC allocation to ASSETS (California Ed Code Sections 8420-8428 and 8484(h)). (more…)
A report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids suggests that while California is the nation’s leader in supporting afterschool programs, nearly 200 Central Valley schools in low-income neighborhoods are still without state or federal afterschool funding.
The successes speak loudly. Studies throughout the state demonstrate improvements in school attendance, academic achievement, English language learning, and student engagement correlated with attending afterschool programs.
A California ASSETS (After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens) study found that high school program participants passed the exit exam (CAHSEE) at a significantly higher rate than students not in the program. Add that to keeping kids off the street, cultivating positive adult and peer relationships, providing a sense of belonging, redirecting problem behavior, and introducing new interests, and it’s no wonder afterschool programs are in high demand.
California’s commitment to afterschool also creates 20,000 afterschool jobs and provides parents reassurance at work while their children are in an afterschool program. Furthermore, local schools match 33 cents for every dollar from the state, leveraging state afterschool funding to raise millions of dollars in cash and in-kind matching funds to support children and youth afterschool. Another win for California kids.
Yet, the non-profit Fight Crime organization reminds us there is still plenty of work to be done:
- Juvenile Crime. Violent juvenile crime in California peaks from 3-4 pm on school days, including juveniles committing homicide, rape, robbery or assault, and juveniles becoming victims. Juvenile crime costs California almost $9 billion annually.
- Dropout Rate. High school dropouts are arrested three times more than high school graduates and eight times more likely to serve time in jail or prison. Dropouts costs Californians $46 billion a year.
- Low Income Families. Low income youth face higher risk of involvement in crime or hanging at the bottom of the achievement gap. Low-income families have the greatest need for safe, productive and educational afterschool opportunities—yet in California almost 2,000 low-income schools have no afterschool funding.
- Waiting Lists. More than half of state-funded afterschool programs report waiting lists, leaving thousands of kids behind.
- High Demand. Demand was more than eight times higher than the amount of available funding in the last round of competitive applications for federal funds.
While many California students and families reap the rewards of afterschool investments, there are significant numbers of underserved kids. The Fight Crime report concedes that quality afterschool programs are a crucial weapon against crime and that public safety depends on continued strong leadership in afterschool.
To access the full report or to learn more about Fight Crime: Invest in Kids: http://www.fightcrime.org/state/2010/reports/californias-after-school-commitment
CENTRAL VALLEY LOW-INCOME SCHOOLS WITHOUT AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California is a bipartisan, non-profit anti-crime organization led by 400 police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys, and violence survivors. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer is a member of the organization’s executive committee.