21st Century Community Learning Centers--improving the academic performance of at-risk students: a Bronx tale.
|Abstract:||The authors of this article report on an intervention designed to improve the academic component of an extended after-school program. The agency involved in this intervention was a non-profit community action group (CAG) agency whose mission is to improve the socio-economic well-being of the residents of Upper Manhattan, the Bronx, and New York City. The agency has a staff of 200 that serve high school students. The intervention program was designed to (1) improve the working relationship between teachers, families, and students in the after-school program, (2) develop new and innovative ways to improve the academic curricula of the after-school program, and (3) provide continuous education to stakeholders to the after-school program. Improvements in student performance relating to attendance, academic work, discipline and social behaviors were reported. The intervention reported in this article has the potential of supporting learning and developmental outcomes over time.|
|Subject:||After school programs (Research)|
Dodd, Arleen T.
Bowen, Lizette M.
|Publication:||Name: Journal of Health and Human Services Administration Publisher: Southern Public Administration Education Foundation, Inc. Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Government; Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Southern Public Administration Education Foundation, Inc. ISSN: 1079-3739|
|Issue:||Date: Summer, 2011 Source Volume: 34 Source Issue: 1|
|Topic:||Event Code: 310 Science & research|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
Problem and Setting
The community action group (CAG) (its name remains anonymous in this article) has served U.S. Dominican residents of Washington Heights, New York since 1979 and currently serves over 15,500 residents annually. The organization's mission is to improve the socio-economic well-being of the residents of Upper Manhattan and the West Bronx. It is an educational mission-driven organization and includes an after-school program to develop the academic and social skills of kindergarten through 12th grade children.
As the forthcoming literature review demonstrates, urban-based after-school programs often contend with behavioral issues (e.g., communication and conflict) between service stakeholders. These issues affect the effectiveness of these programs. The researchers initially hypothesized that an intervention program (e.g., continuous training of key stakeholders) may reduce these barriers and improve the student's after-school experience and his or her eventual academic performance. We believed further that such interventions may lead to better after-school outcomes.
The literature also shows that other factors (family/home environment) may affect a student's ability to learn and succeed. The literature illustrates that the academic setting is not the sole source to ensure learning success; learning does begin in the home. Hence the role of family is critical. Another variable in the role of achievement of academic success is the perception of the student and parent. The literature heightened the researchers' awareness that any intervention would have to take these variables and factors into account.
This study examined and reports on the impact of an after-school program (using the 21st Century Community Learning Center or 21st CCLC model) on high school stakeholders (families, students, and teachers) in the West Bronx community. Also the study documented the effects of interventions directed at these stakeholders. These included: improving staff/teacher effectiveness, family involvement, and student academic performance.
The goal of the intervention examined herein was to implement a new after-school curriculum with academic and social components. An action plan was designed and implemented that included training and collaborative activities with all after-school stakeholders.
The study and purpose can be summarized as follows: (1) an assessment was made of the relationships between stakeholders (parent-teacher, teacher-student, and parent-student); (2) new and innovative ways were designed to challenge and help students grow academically; and (3) service providers (including after-school teaching staff) were instructed on education methods and service delivery.
After-School Programs--the Early Years
For over 100 years, after-school programs have existed but, before the 1970s family and members of the community (neighbors) fulfilled the role of after school care (Hofferth, Brayfield, Deich & Holcomb, 1991). Since this time demographic and economic trends shifted after-school care dramatically away from the family and community to after-school facilities and programs. This was due to an increase in single-parent homes, a higher divorce rate, and an increasing number of homes with dual-career couples. These changes sparked the development and growth of after-care centers that were regional and local in nature. These centers often functioned without federal subsidies.
According to Dynarski and Moore (2004), the percentage of public schools offering extended day programs has tripled from 13 percent to 47 percent between 1987 and 1999. Today, according to the Afterschool Alliance (2004), more than 6 million children and youth participate in after-school programs.
With time there emerged a greater need for after-school programs to expand its mission to include social and educational opportunities as well as recreation. This need spawned the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) established by Congress in 1994. The CCLC program concept is central to the research reported in this article.
After-School Programs--Needs and Issues
According to Williams (2000), major juvenile crime takes place between the hours of 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. During after-school hours, more than five million children spend their time unsupervised; however, students who participate in extended day programs are less likely to commit juvenile criminal acts. Williams (2000) explained, "After school crime or after school programs emphasize that juvenile crime stems from too little adult supervision and the decreased availability of constructive after school activities" (p. 53).
Williams (2000) called for an extended day program in at-risk neighborhoods. She believes these programs can lower crime rates and increase test scores. Kruczek, Alexander, and Harris (2005) supported these trends. They believed that the transition from childhood to early adolescence is a high-risk period for middle school students. Kruczek et al. (2005) also supported Roeser, Eccles and Sameroffs (2000) contention that the child's perception of school during this transition period affects both their present (the value of school and learning) and their future (expectations of success). Likewise Miller (2001) and Peotheroe (2006) contended that the structure of a well-planned after-school program helped high-risk students to apply the academic content of the school day. They added that new skills (e.g. conflict resolution, anger management, etc.) can be acquired in an after-school environment. Both Roeser et al. (2000) and Kruczek et al. (2005) believed that acquiring such skills may reduce the likelihood of future high-risk behaviors that impede learning and success.
Peotheroe (2006) warned of the difficulties in designing effective after-school programs. Students with low morale, motivation and poor social skills (as well as staff) may "burn out" after a day of regular school and after-school. The researchers believed that any attempt to improve an after-school program must take these factors into account.
Effective After-School Programs--Program Structure
According to the literature reported, successful after-school programs require a commitment from all stakeholders. To achieve this commitment, the engagement of key stakeholders (families, teachers, students and administrators) is required. Rossario and Pablo (2004) added that the involvement of the community and the sponsoring educational institution is also required. The after-school organization must be equipped to facilitate dialogue among different stakeholders (Rossario and Pablo, 2004). Also Peotheroe (2006) stated that all stakeholders must support a clear outcome-oriented mission.
The need for continuous training of stakeholders to ensure after-school program success is also supported by research literature. Staff must be aware of innovative after-school educational methods (Saldana & Menendez-Negrete, 2005). Other skills such as mentoring, role modeling and parenting skills are required.
Peotheroe (2006) believed that an after-school day program design must begin with a well executed needs assessment. Needs are measured through learning assessment instruments and teacher reports and observations. Other variables in the design may include student self-esteem, cultural identity, personal values, and educational aspirations (Saldana & Menendez-Negrete, 2005). (These variables were an integral part in the pre-test period of this study).
Kruczek et al. (2005) stated that effective after-school programs should include three core counseling interventions: individual counseling, family counseling and group guidance. High school students should receive a one-hour minimum of both individual counseling and group guidance. Counseling services provide students with ways of expressing their feelings. They added that some of the important outcomes anticipated in the program are motivation, a healthy identity, self-esteem, adaptive peer relations, an enriching academic experience, and conflict management skills.
Finally an after-school program must focus on cultural diversity and social skills. These skills are developed through tutorials, group discussions, presentations, communication and interpersonal skills workshops for parents and custodial guardians. An effective after-school program should include activities that reinforce the learning that transpires during the school day. Peotheroe (2006) believed that hands-on activities are more likely to keep students engaged after school. This can prevent students from being "turned off by an after-school program after completing an 8 hour school day. According to Kruczek, et al. (2005) an extended day program should consist of three interventions: individual counseling, family counseling and group guidance. The academic curriculum should address these interventions.
The 21st Century Community Learning Center and the No Child Left Behind Act
In 1994, the Improving America's School Act created a federal funding stream for after-school programs through the authorization of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) within the U.S. Department of Education (Harvard Family Research Project, 2009). The 21st CCLC program was established to meet social and educational gaps not addressed by traditional after-school programs. Often 21st CCLC programs employ the methods of effective after-school programs. This specifically includes the design of an academic curriculum and creation of partnerships between school, family and community.
The 21st CCLC program was reauthorized under the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002 (NCLB). The NCLB reinvigorated the role and scope of 21st CCLC. The Act's authors believed that 21st CCLC had a programmatic structure that could support the goals of the NCLB. Also they believed that its programmatic features could address gaps and inefficiencies (in the normal school day) that inhibit academic success. Thus, the focus of 21st CCLC changed from a community center learning model to an after-school model with a focus on academic enrichment, literacy, and related educational services (Harvard Family Research Project, 2009).
The 21st CCLC programs encourage partnerships between schools and community-based organizations to respond to educational/social development needs at the local level. With substantial increases in federal appropriations 21st CCLC grew from 1997 to 2001. By 2000, there were more than 6,800 rural and inner-city public schools, in 1,420 U.S. communities, operating 21st CCLC (U.S. Department of Education, 2000). 21st CCLCs are designed to be family and community center based. According to Zhang and Byrd (2006), their mission was to provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including student tutorial services, at low performing schools to meet state and local test standards. 21st CCLC construct activities to remove multiple nonacademic barriers to learning as well. These include anger-management problems, low self-esteem and grief and loss issues (Anderson-Butcher, 2004).
The NCLB Act sought to build on the partnership elements of the 21st CCLC. It encouraged 21st CCLC to collaborate with local education agencies (e.g., school boards, host schools) and at least one partnering organization. The client organization in this study was one such organization.
A 21st CCLC after-school program should be family and community centered as mandated by the federal government. It must have evidence-based goals that provide educational and social benefits to stakeholders. According to Scott-Little, Hamann, and Jurs (2002), the 21st CCLC after-school program seeks to increase the number of students who meet state math and reading standards. It also seeks to decrease truancy rates, suspensions and disciplinary actions.
The 21st CCLC program should be designed to meet the needs of the local community. A pre-assessment of needs is done through collaboration among all stakeholders (parents, students, parents/guardians and educational teachers and staff). According to Anderson-Butcher (2004), teachers and staff must interpret and act upon the data in the needs assessment phase. Anderson-Butcher (2004) also reported that the partnership concept builds local school needs, as well as the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. The partnership identifies community strengths and resources to be utilized. "Brainstorming" is also used to help the partnership identify and meet needs. Strategic plans are developed to introduce additional programs to meet the needs of the school and the community. These approaches were employed by the researchers of this study.
Evaluating After-School Programs
In 2002 the literature pointed to a lack of scholarly evidence that assessed programmatic impact. This conclusion was supported by Scott-Little et al. (2002). They reviewed 138 after-school based research articles and concluded that only 15 of the 138 articles yielded significant assessment results and therefore called for the need for additional assessment-based research.
Beginning in 2003, uptake in assessment-based studies appeared. Both The After-School Alliance (2004) and Poggi (2003) reported outcomes of after school programs in Ohio, Massachusetts and California. Other studies reported on the benefits afforded to disadvantaged/high risk children (Mahoney, Lord & Careryl, 2005; Harris, 2004; and Miller, 2001.
Zang (2004, 2005, 2006) conducted the most extensive research on the effects of 21st CCLC programs. His 2004 study with Fleming and Bartol assessed Florida's 21st CCLC programs. The researchers of this intervention reported improvements in student performance relating to attendance, academic work, discipline and social behaviors.
In 2006, Zang and Byrd conducted a more rigorous evaluation of Florida's programs. Zang and Byrd (2006) examined five key areas within Florida's 21st CCLC programs. These included (1) needs assessment and design, (2) program operations, (3) participant makeup, (4) curricula, and (5) and overall results and satisfaction. Regarding the latter, they reported high degrees of satisfaction with these variables: services, staff, and overall student performance. The researchers of the study reported in this article decided that stakeholder satisfaction would be an important measure in both the pre- and post-test design. Zang and Byrd's study provided additional data to consider in the pre-test and post-test. According to Zang and Byrd (2006), "Program strengths lie in areas of management, academic focus, program delivery, enrollment and attendance, program sustainability, enrichment activities, sport and fitness activities, snack offering, adult programming, and community involvement" (p. 6).
The researchers' decision to employ a qualitative-based assessment approach was also supported by Ordonez-Jasis and Jasis (2004). In their study of the DeColores Community Learning Center the post-test performance of low performing Chicano-Latino children was examined. The experimental program was patterned after successful after-school programs, including 21st CCLC. Specifically the program sought to empower community stakeholders and strengthen the school-family partnership. Ordonez-Jasis and Jasis (2004) documented a positive academic impact in the DeColores program. Ordonez-Jasis and Jasis' (2004) approach to measurement differed greatly from the previously described studies. They combined both quantitative and qualitative data. In their qualitative design the authors conducted extensive interviews with parents, teachers and children. As an example one teacher said in an interview, "Things are beginning to change ... The communication we are developing with our students, parents and the teachers is definitely one based on mutual care for the student's interests. I think parents feel freer to say what's on their minds" (p. 62).
The authors of this article believed that qualitative data, similar to Ordonez-Jasis and Jasis' (2004) approach, can meet the after-school research challenges initially proposed by Scott-Little et al., (2002). Open-ended interviews and survey-based research can provide rich sources of perceptual data that reflect the stakeholder's point of view on impact. This data can supplement the more quantitative data related to academic performance, attendance, etc. Therefore, survey-based data was used in the pre- and post-test design of the after-school 21st CCLC program in the Bronx.
Hypotheses and Variables
1 Null Hypothesis: There is no statistically significant difference between the parent pre-test and post-test group on the variables related to tutoring, curriculum, in-service training and communication with after-school service staff.
2 Null Hypothesis: There is no statistically significant difference between the student pre-test and post-test group on the variables related to tutoring, curriculum, counseling support, communication with after-school service staff and parent/student training.
3 Null Hypothesis: There is no statistically significant difference between the teacher pre-test and post-test group on the variables related to student performance (homework and academic performance), in-service training and parent/student training.
Dependent and Independent Variables
All variables were measured on an ordinal scale from data collected in pre- and post-test surveys. The surveys used a Likert-scale (1, strongly disagree to 5 strongly agree). The dependent variable was overall student performance (measured by the items related to homework and academic performance). The independent variables were those that pertained to key elements of the Bronx 21st CCLC program: tutoring, curriculum, in-service training for stakeholders, communication between staff and parents and students and the partnership training interventions (with students, parents and teachers). All variables were measured on an ordinal scale from data collected in pre- and post-test surveys.
In order to assess the research variables, survey-based research was conducted to define the needs (the pretest) of parents and children in the 21st CCLC program. A post-test using the same items was employed to assess impact and build improvements. The surveys (Appendixes A, B, and C) used a Likert 1-5 scale and were administered to 60 stakeholders (20 teachers, 20 students, and 20 families) in the 21st CCLC program within the Bronx, New York.
The sample size was small because of the lack of resources to do an intervention with the larger after-school population of stakeholders. Since the primary purpose of the research was "action research" as opposed to a "pure" longitudinal pre- and post-test design, the decision to go with a smaller sample is justified. However, the pre- and post-test surveys were employed to measure the expectations and perceptions of the three primary stakeholder groups participating in the 21st CCLC program.
The pre-test survey methodology was used to assess perceptions of the existing after-school program and how it could be improved to better meet the goals of the after-school program. This methodology is consistent with Zang and Byrd's (2006) recommendations on assessment.
The post-test surveys were administered to the same populations and samples used in the pre-test surveys. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed on the data to test the null hypotheses posed above. It was anticipated that the ANOVA would provide some evidence that the 21st CCLC program and its after-school curriculum had an impact on all, or any, of the stakeholders.
Before placing students in classrooms, an academic pre-assessment was conducted. Students were divided into categories according to their academic level. This assessment provided teachers with a better understanding of student academic needs. A productive environment for doing homework was created; students were able to work in a didactic learning setting. This created the opportunity for teachers to develop a positive relationship with students. There was communication between the day-time faculty and after-school staff. Day-time faculty informed the staff of critical homework assignments and students who needed extra help.
The after-school curriculum was often communicated via memos, bulletins, and assignment books. Day-time faculty and after-school staff participated in joint strategy meetings to discuss curricular activities. In addition to the needs survey (shown in Appendix A) a survey was administered to students to address their personal concerns regarding the after-school curriculum/activities. Additional data were also collected via phone calls with family members. Families received newsletters, describing the after-school events, attendance, and procedures. Information was also offered at back-to-school night and parent forums.
The pre-test survey findings confirmed the need for an academic component within the after-school program. The academic component was designed to promote student learning and family-teacher-support staff communication. An action learning process (Marquardt, 2004) was also used to analyze results from the survey and brainstorm (with all stakeholders) ways to design and implement the after-school program. The curriculum was approved by school officials prior to implementation. A formalized contracting-type meeting was held and an agreement was signed by all parties. As the program was implemented, additional action learning meetings were organized to provide feedback and adjust the curriculum and program activities. Twenty five students participated in the initial implementation group.
Educational Intervention based on Pre-Test Needs
Based on the survey findings a number of in-service interventions were planned and executed. The central piece of intervention was the design and delivery of an innovative educational after-school curriculum to assist teachers in attaining the goals of improved student academic performance and socialization. A detailed action plan was implemented. This included:
* A time line to prepare faculty and curriculum execution.
* Key stakeholder involvement (teachers, families, and students).
* A curriculum time line.
* Development of academic growth charts to track progress.
* Use of meeting management techniques (e.g., agenda development) of stakeholders.
* Selection of the initial student cohort pre/post test group.
* A schedule of each academic segment.
* Selection of day-time faculty to ensure success.
* Development of an academic budget.
* Assignment of classes to after-school staff.
* Logistics management (e.g., space management).
* Assurance of an appropriate student/teacher ratio.
The researchers and field management sponsor decided that staff training was needed to reach the organization's goals. Such training was essential to achieving effective teacher, student and parent communication as well as the academic goals of the program. Additional activities were designed and implemented. These included:
* Action learning sessions with stakeholders
* Family workshops
* Teacher retreats
* Specific staff training
* Student incentives
* Parent Association luncheons
* School attendance meetings
Results were measured using a post-test survey.
The post-test survey was administered to a sample of stakeholders who were in the original pre-test design (20 parents, 20 students and 20 teachers). The post-test used 10 of the original items from the pre-test.
Table 1 summarizes survey data and perceptions from the students who attended the extended day program revised curriculum intervention implemented during the service innovation phase. The survey results indicate student agreement that the new curriculum enhanced student knowledge. For item 1 (course activities added to my knowledge) the mean was 3.45, close to agreement. This is probably the most significant result, although there was significant variation in the data (a coefficient of variation of .46).
Students responded "neutral" to items 6, 9 and 10. These items measured the teacher's enthusiasm, encouragement, and creation of a mutually respectful learning environment. Item 6 (The teacher was enthusiastic about the subject matter) had a mean of 2.9 (close to neutral). Item 9 (The teacher encouraged students to actively participate in class) had a mean of 3.15, again close to neutral, and a coefficient of variation of .45. For item 10 (The teacher promotes an atmosphere of mutual respect) the mean was 3.1, again neutral. All three of the aforementioned items had significant variation (the coefficients of variation are above 40%). For item 3 (I would recommend this course to a fellow student) the mean of 2.7 is close to neutral. There was significant variation in the data (a coefficient of variation of .55). For item 4 (The teacher encouraged me to relate the subject matter to practical events) the mean of 3.15 implies neutrality. There is also significant variation in the data (coefficient of variation of .42).
Student neutrality on these items could be explained by student apathy in answering a Likert-based survey (e.g., eagerness to complete survey and answer neutral). Teacher apathy may also explain student neutrality (see below). Teachers are important in this type of change process. Also they directly communicate with students on a daily bases.
The neutral responses of two primary stakeholders (students and teachers) may partially explain the challenge in implementing such a change process. Also the time line (the innovation was evaluated after only 3 months) may also explain why the data does not show significant shifts in perception. Regardless, the consultants encouraged stakeholders to continue the activities of the collaboration to further track progress.
An examination of differences between the pre- and post-test means produced the results found in Tables 2 and 3. For the student pre- and post-test means (Table 2), students perceived a slight improvement in tutoring. The mean increased from 2.9 to 3.7. The parents (Table 3) also reported a slight improvement (the mean went from 3.3 to 4.0). Regarding counseling, students showed an improvement at the .05 level from 2.2 to 3.4 (Table 2). There are no results for parents on this variable.
Parent perception on the need for a curriculum (Table 3) did not change (the mean remained at 3.9). Perhaps this can explained by the fact that a new after-school curriculum was in place. The mean of 3.9 does imply that parents continue to see the need for an after-school curriculum. Parents disagreed on the need for additional training (Table 3), although the mean did move toward neutral (from 2.1 to 2.7). In contrast student perceptions on the need for parent/student workshops (Table 2) moved more to disagree (from 3 to 2.6), although it was not statistically significant. The results for students and parents can possibly be explained by the following factors and conditions:
1. Student burnout.
2. The after-school academic program and schedule could not accommodate all students.
3. The scheduling of parent workshop took place during work hours, making it difficult for parents to attend.
The post-test findings of teacher perception produced interesting results. Although none of the variables produced a statistically significant change in perception (Table 4), there were some slight changes noted in the following areas:
1. There was a slight shift to less agreement on completion of homework (from 3.2 to 2.3).
2. A shift to agreement on the need for parent/student workshops (from 3.2 to 3.9).
3. Very little change in perceptions on academic performance (mean of 2.4 and 2.6) and the need to improve math/English curriculum (mean of 3.1 and 3.3).
4. No change on the perceived need for an alternative curriculum (mean of 3.1 and 3.3).
Possible explanations for these results for teachers were:
1. Teacher apathy on the prospects of student ability to improve performance.
2. Teachers continued need to see parents involved.
3. Teachers do not see revised curriculum as the answer.
However in Table 3 on the variable communication with staff there was a statistically significant change in parent perception at the .05 level: The mean went from 2.6 to 3.6. In Table 2 the student mean on this same item also moved in a more positive direction (2.9 to 3.5).
These results can be explained by the following factors:
1. A perceived heightened alliance and empowerment between parents/students and teachers.
2. The extra time tutors spent with students after academic the classes.
3. Newly designated roles for staff and tutors to reinforce learning.
4. The results of the weekly action learning sessions which employed innovative communication activities.
Learning begins at home; parents and school staff must be committed to providing students with the proper academic tools. Parental involvement is critical to programmatic success. A national evaluation of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program found that family involvement in after-school increased family involvement in school and at home (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2003). According to the results of pre- and post-test surveys of this study, parental communication moved from "neutral" to "agree" following participation in the intervention. In order to fit in extra academic activity, student daily responsibilities should be considered. Parents played a major role in students' academic enrichment. This role must be filled by an effective parent. Workshops are needed to inform parents about techniques, which will enhance communication. Scheduling must be done to accommodate parents' duties. If workshops were done after work hours, there would be an increase in the number of participants.
According to Dynarski and Moore (2004), New York City Public School teachers are resistant to change. They are accustomed to the traditional educational system. The results of this study's pre- and post-test survey showed no significant change (from a pre-test mean of 3.1 to a posttest mean of 3.3) in teachers' perception of the need for a curriculum in an after-school program design. Teachers are important in this change process. They directly communicate with students on a daily basis. Change was initiated at the organization, yet the survey results indicate neutrality between parties. This can lead to a slight change in the future approach to collaboration with teachers. Structured interviews with teachers and students might lead to less neutrality of results and should also be considered in future program designs .
Change is hard to embrace in this system. To succeed in the change process all parties need to be in agreement. Workshops will improve parents' commitment to learning and enrichment. All parties must be committed to change.
According to Kruczek, Alexander, and Harris (2005), after-school programs should enhance the alliance that exists between students and teachers. High school students need extra one-on-one time to express their concerns regarding school academics. Structure is needed to promote success in a school environment. Roles must be given to staff members involve in change process. This study and its results support how these variables played an important part in the success of the program.
Marquardt's (2004) Action Learning (AL) model was used in this study to engage all stakeholders in the planning improvements in the after-school program. The AL model and activities did produce improved communication between stakeholders in the program. The AL sessions also produced improvements in programmatic scheduling and time management used by after-school staff in program implementation.
According to Peotheroe (2006), after-school academic programs must measure program success. Student academic scores should be used to evaluate service provided. An increase in student academic performance may be directly related to program services. A 2009 Harvard Family Research Report concluded, "after-school programs have demonstrated the ability to impact social/emotional, prevention, and wellness outcomes, which in turn support academic success" (p. 23). The results of this study support Peotheroe (2006) and the Harvard Research Report's (2009) recommendations. Most of these studies were longitudinal in which it is easier to see improvement in academic performance and evaluate program success. It is difficult to see a change in student academic performance in a short intervention.
According to Saldana and Negrete (2005), an effective extended day program must focus on three academic areas: skills development, cultural and social skills, and personal skills development. The survey results indicated student agreement that the new curriculum enhanced their knowledge. Student response to the item, "course activities added to my knowledge," was close to "agree." This was probably the most significant result. Students perceived a slight improvement in tutoring. However, our academic curriculum does have areas that need to be addressed as the program continues. Culture should be taken into consideration when developing a public school curriculum. The school is open to the public; there is diversity among students culture. Staff members must be able to accommodate this dialogue.
The 2009 Harvard Family Research Report concluded that "the evidence from the best available research in the after-school arena provides a compelling case that participation in well-implemented after-school programs can support a range of learning and developmental outcomes" (p.2). The intervention reported in this article has the potential of supporting learning and developmental outcomes over time. The researchers of this intervention reported improvements in student performance relating to attendance, academic work, discipline and social behaviors. There was a statistically significant change in a positive direction in parent perception of "communication with staff." Student perception also moved in a more positive direction. If this program is continued, teachers may become more accepting of change, which leads to an improvement in collaboration between all parties.
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ARLEEN T. DODD
State University of New York College at Old Westbury
LIZETTE M. BOWEN
Bronx, New York
Appendix A Parent Survey 1. The tutoring my child receives from the extended day teacher is useful. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 2. There is a need to implement a math and English curriculum in the extended day program. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 3. There is a need for additional training to better serve students. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 4. Workshops on health issues are useful. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 5. My child's math skills have improved. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 6. My child reading skills have improved. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 7. The extended day staff communicates with me. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 8. Counselors form strong alliances with students. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 9. The quality of the communication between students and teachers is good. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 10. Counselors help in areas that student seek guidance. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree Do you have any ideas that will make the extended day program better? Appendix B Teacher Survey 1. Students turn in their homework on time. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 2. Students complete homework to my satisfaction. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 3. Students volunteer (for extra credit, more responsibilities). O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 4. Extended day program student academic performance is exceptional. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 5 . There is a need to implement a math and English curriculum in the extended day program. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 6. There is a need for additional training to better serve students. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 7. There is a need for parent and student workshops. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 8. Students attend class regularly. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 9. Students are attentive in class. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 10. The academic implementation classes have increased standardized test scores. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree Do you have any ideas that will make the extended day program better? Appendix C Student Survey 1. The tutoring I receive from the extended day teacher is useful. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 2. There is a need to implement a math and English curriculum in the extended day program. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 3. There is a need for additional training to better serve students. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 4. There is a need for parent and student workshops. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 5. The help I receive studying for state tests helps me. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 6. I feel good about the quality of my school work. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 7. The quality of health instruction provided in this program is good. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 8. The condition of the bathrooms is satisfactory. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 9. Communication between students and teachers is good. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree 10. Counselors help me in areas that I seek guidance. O O O O O 1 2 3 4 5 Strongly Disagree Neither agree Agree Strongly agree disagree nor disagree Do you have any ideas that will make the extended day program a success? Table 1 Descriptive Statistics - Educational Innovation Evaluation Post-Test Standard Coefficient Mean Deviation of Variation 1. The course activities 3.45 1.6 0.46 added to my knowledge. 3. I would recommend this 2.7 1.5 0.55 course to a fellow student. 4. The teacher encouraged me 3.15 1.3 0.42 to relate the subject matter to practical events. 6. The teacher was 2.9 1.4 0.48 enthusiastic about the subject matter. 9. The teacher encouraged 3.15 1.4 0.45 students to actively participate in class. 10 The teacher encouraged an 3.1 1.5 0.47 atmosphere of respect. Table 2 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Student Survey - Pre- and Post-Test Variable Group Mean T Value Tutoring Pre-Test 2.9 -1.55 Received Post-Test 3.7 Need for Pre-Test 3.4 .769 Curriculum Post-Test 3.0 Communication Pre-Test 3.5 Post-Test 2.9 -1.25 Counselor Pre-Test 2.2 -2.95 * helps Post-Test 3.4 Parent/Student Pre-Test 3.0 .869 Workshops Post-Test 2.6 * Differences Statistically Significant (p<.05) Table 3 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Parent Survey - Pre- and Post-Test Variable Group Mean T Value Useful Tutoring Pre-Test 3.3 -1.63 Post-Test 4.0 Need for Pre-Test 3.9 1.35 Curriculum Post-Test 3.9 Additional Pre-Test 2.1 1.33 Training Post-Test 2.7 Staff Pre-Test 2.6 -2.56 * Communication Post-Test 3.6 * Differences Statistically Significant (p<.05) Table 4 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Teacher Survey - Pre- and Post-Test Variable Group Mean T Value Complete Pre-Test 3.2 -.835 Homework Post-Test 2.3 Academic Pre-Test 2.4 -.462 Performance Post-Test 2.6 Parent /Student Pre-Test 3.2 -1.64 Workshops Post-Test 3.9 Additional Pre-Test 3.7 .429 Training Post-Test 3.6 Need for Pre-Test 3.1 -.312 Curriculum Post-Test 3.3 * Differences Statistically Significant (p<.05)
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