Out of School Time
While access to high quality schools is a "necessary ingredient for the education of students, good schools alone may not be sufficient to ensure universally high levels of academic development. Supplemental educational experiences may also be needed. The idea of supplementary education is closely associated with exposure to family- and community-based activities and learning experiences that occur both in and out of school in support of academic learning. For low income and some ethnic minority student groups, opportunities to participate in such activities are generally under-resourced and under-utilized.
This lack of accessible and affordable extra-curricular and/or summer learning, translates into the "achievement gap" - the difference in academic performance between students of different ethnic and socio-economic groups.
After-school and youth development programs, such as After the Bell and Choices for Success, with high quality academic assistance, and enrichment content help to eliminate this gap by allowing students to explore various topics, skills, or projects that interest them, but may not be clearly linked to the school day.
Gordon, E. W., Bridglall, B. L., & Meroe, A. S. (2004). Supplementar, Education: The Hidden Curriculum of High Academic Achievement. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield
After the Bell (ATB)
After the Bell (ATB) is an affordable, high-quality before- and after-school program that strives to connect school-day learning with and out-of-school time activities. An initiative of Norwalk Public Schools, the Kendall Elementary School ATB site is operated in partnership with The Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County, which provides site management and staffing. Hours of operations are 7:30 am to 9:00 am, and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
ATB sets fees for tuition on a sliding scale. Fees and applications are managed by the Norwalk Public Schools ATB administrator who can be reached at (203) 854-4150 and is located at the Norwalk Public Schools administrative office at 125 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851.
Benefits of the ATB Program
Supports academic achievement with activities that support Norwalk elementary school improvement plans programming that utilizes data on specific student needs and progress.
Connects school-day learning with before/after-school activities.
Utilizes a certified teaching staff to provide academic support.
Bridges the achievement gap with enrichment activities/programs that increase experiential learning opportunities.
Inspires healthy risk-taking, new learning and new skills, which contribute to higher self-efficacy and self-esteem.
Provides a safe, nurturing environment with trained staff that actively engage and supervise the children in their care.
Reinforces positive behaviors that contribute to a positive school climate.
Encourages on-going, positive communication with families and school personnel.
Choices for Success
Established in 1998, Choices for Success, an after-school, youth development program, provides rigorous academic assistance and remediation, hands-on enrichment learning with a focus on STEM, and behavioral supports that enable middle- and high school students to develop the traits and skills needed to succeed in school, at home and in the community. Staff members include three M.A.-level, certified educators and specially trained, bi-lingual (Spanish) youth development professionals.
Choices focuses on enrolling students during the important middle school years, especially 6th grade, when many children become disengaged from learning. Of these students, many choose to continue at Choices throughout high school, as both participants and interns.
"Youth Voice" is an increasingly important initiative at Choices, and continues to evolve as Choices students participate equally with adults in decision-making that impacts the program, their peers, their families and their community.
Under the direction of Choices' staff, the program also conducts frequent parent seminars designed to help families navigate the difficult adolescent and teen years.
Choices operates five days per week, from 3pm to 6pm, and offers scholarships and incentives that make the program affordable for virtually all families.
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Choices For Success