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Afterschool Programs

A New Model for After School Programming

Hillcrest Elementary believes that its strength lies in the close relationships they have cultivated between staff, their community partners and of course, their students and families.  The focus on these relationships does not stop when the dismissal bell rings. 

Fully one half of Hillcrest’s 500 students attend after school on site.  This program is the size of some of the smaller elementary schools in SFUSD, but, as with many after school programs, it lacked the resources and attention provided during the academic school day.   This all changed when Hillcrest Elementary received a Healthy Start Grant from the California Department of Education and administered by Scud’s School Health Program.  In essence this grant gives schools seed money to plan and implement their vision of a Community School.

After a year of intensive assessment and planning, the Hillcrest community came up with four major focal areas for its Community School initiative with its After School Program rising to the top of the list. 

With a combination of site and grant money Hillcrest now has four of its after school staff starting their day during the first lunch period.  They, along with two Americorps volunteers don’t just “supervise” the students.  Instead they sit with them and have lunch, they create organized games for them to play on the yard, help resolve conflicts before they get out of hand.  Their thoughtful presence along with, more often than not, Hillcrest principal Richard Zapien, has transformed what was once a chaotic time, full of conflicts, into a joyful part of the day where students get the recreation and attention they need and where after school staff have the chance to deepen their relationships with their students.

After the lunch periods are over, these after school teachers participate in teacher grade level meetings to ensure that they are supporting what is going on in the classroom.  They also have a chance to ensure that there is continuity in behavior plans for students who need them.  Hillcrest is also partnering with Instituto Familiar de La Raza in the implementation of a pilot program offering mental health consultation to the after school program to help meet the emotional and behavioral needs of its students.

Another benefit of extending the work day of these staff is that instead of being 15 hour a week part time employees, at 30 hours a week they are now earning a living wage and qualify for benefits which significantly cuts down on the traditional turn-over of after school staff.

All after school staff were invited to a full-day of professional development around its new school climate program, Caring School Communities.  Staff are provided support in implementing this program in their after school classrooms and are included in all school-wide initiatives.

Through these concerted efforts to integrate the after school program into the school day and to utilize school day resources in after school, Hillcrest is adding immeasurable value to both programs and developing deep and caring relationships along the way.

 

 

  

World Fair 2015