Washington DC Schools Improves Its After-school Program

by : Stacy Andell




The Wallace Foundation Invests $8 Million in Washington DC Schools

Washington DC Schools after schools and out of school programs are getting a boost from the nonprofit DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation and The Wallace Foundation. The DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation is works to increase the quality, quantity and accessibility of services for children, youth and families in the Washington DC area. The DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation is responsible for giving funds to community organizations for out-of-school time programs, youth entrepreneurship programs, and early childhood development programs and parent centers. The DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation has recently received the promise of $8 million from The Wallace Foundation for Washington DC Schools after school programs. The Wallace Foundation is a national foundation that aims to support the ideas and practices that expand learning and enrichment opportunities. The Wallace Foundation currently lists its three goals as: strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement; enhancing out-of-school learning opportunities; and expanding participation in arts and culture.

The Wallace Foundation’s Learning in Communities

Washington DC Schools were chosen to be apart of The Wallace Foundation’s Learning in Communities initiative. Learning in Communities strives to develop comprehensive methods for learning in and organizing after school programs that have very high standards. The Learning in Communities initiative has begun in three Washington DC Schools middle schools, Charles Hart Middle School, Kelly Miller Middle School, and Lincoln Middle School. The program currently serves around 600 students but the plan is to expand the program to all middle schools in the Washington DC Schools. The Learning in Communities initiative has help to establish high quality activities outside of the school day; after school, on weekends, and during the summer.

The Learning in Communities, guided by the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, has created partnerships with Washington DC mayor’s office, Washington DC Schools, leaders, local universities, private foundations, parents, and the community. This partnership is now aiming to add an additional $8 million to the $8 million that has been donated by The Wallace Foundation. This partnership also aims to institute employee volunteers to act as mentors or tutors starting in the 2006-2007 school year.

The Learning in Communities initiative is starting in middle schools in Washington DC Schools due to national educational research that has indicated that middle school age children are the best group to help from failing later. The research shows that middle school students who have one or more of the following risk factors are less likely to graduate from high school. The four identified risk factors are failing English, failing math, poor behavior, and truancy. Middle school students in the Washington DC Schools often must deal with added obstacles, such as living below the poverty line, having limited English proficiency and high truancy rates. Washington DC Schools now have more than 150 programs that serve at least some middle-school students but the Learning in Communities initiative aims to put an after school program in every middle school in the Washington DC Schools. The Learning in Communities initiative will improve Washington DC Schools after school and summer programs by connecting the programs, producing diverse quality programs that fit children’s needs, developing better standards for training providers, and creating a database that will allow officials to match children with after-school programs.