Expanded Middle School Afterschool Initiative a Rousing Success: Report

Expanded Middle School Afterschool Initiative a Rousing Success: Report

PHOTO:  A study by an outside research group shows that the City’s $145 million first-year investment in its expanded middle school afterschool initiative dramatically increased educational and recreational opportunities for 6th through 8th graders. File Photo

By Forum Staff

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong on Monday released the findings of the Year One Evaluation of School’s Out New York City, part of the administration’s expanded middle school afterschool initiative.

The study shows the mayor’s $145 million first year investment in 2014 worked to triple SONYC enrollment and increase educational and recreational opportunities for New York City 6th through 8th graders. Ninety-eight percent of parents surveyed reported their sons and daughters like coming to the program, and nearly all of the families surveyed said they would recommend SONYC to other families, the analysis showed.

“Today’s report confirms what I hear from families across the city – afterschool programs work and provide students with safe and enriching environments. Learning shouldn’t stop when the bell rings and providing rigorous and exciting afterschool programming is essential to raising student achievement and ensuring students are ready for college and meaningful careers,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

The findings represent data from 2,300 hours of program observation, more than 2,000 youth surveys, nearly 1,000 family surveys and 7,000 hours of interviews from a cohort of 37 SONYC programs that participated in site visits during the first year of the two-year review conducted by the American Institute for Research, a behavioral and social science research, practice, and policy organization.

Prior to the expansion, DYCD and the Department of Education combined served an estimated 56,369 middle schoolers in 239 schools and community centers in the 2013-14 school year. In the first year of the middle school expansion (2014-2015), 111,448 young people were served in programs operated by both DYCD and DOE through various initiatives. The initiative with the largest expansion was SONYC, DYCD’s afterschool programs in public middle schools, community centers, and other locations. Enhancements included programs being open five days per week for 36 weeks during the school year and a higher price per participant to cover the additional hours and enable providers to hire and retain qualified staff and provide high quality programming

According to the administration, middle school can be an especially challenging time for students, parents and teachers, with young people undergoing the extraordinary changes of early adolescence, and an especially valuable time when young people can experience amazing growth when provided opportunities. Afterschool programming helps develop new skills and interests; prepares students for high school, graduation, college and beyond; encourages young people to pursue their passions; keeps youth out of trouble between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.; and reduces the achievement gap among diverse communities.

SONYC programming offers opportunities such as STEM robotics, 3D modeling, urban agriculture, fitness, fashion and design, culinary arts, podcast production, coding, animation and filmmaking, and theatre arts.

“Today’s report shows that kids are learning—and they like it. We’re growing tomorrow’s leaders, keeping kids safe and busy while parents are at work, building their confidence, and closing in on the achievement gap in communities across our city. And this is only year one,” de Blasio said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>