What Parents Need to Know

THE FACTS OF THE MATTER

All students are welcome and the programs are FREE!  No co-pays, no out-of-pocket expenses, no claim forms!  Randy Mehrten, Senior Director of Safe and Healthy Kids Dept, which manages the program funds says, “This program is the best bargain of taxpayer funds today.  Schools do not get paid if children are not in attendance and attendance is voluntary.”

After-school programs are NOT structured babysitting services for the masses.  The purpose of the before and after school programs is to support student success in school by providing academic support and enrichment opportunities.  Data gathered year after year provides proof that children who regularly attend afterschool programs for 120 days or more develop stronger minds and character and score much higher on California Standardized Tests than kids who don’t attend.  Most notably, they achieve superior results in language arts and math.

Fresno County FRESH Afterschool programs consistently provide sound educational learning experiences using research-based strategies that are embedded with California’s Common Core Standards.

There’s a difference between Fresno’s after school programs and regular day school.  One important difference is that care is taken in placing highly qualified, college attending, culturally diverse staff at each of our program sites.  Another difference is the application of content-instructional strategies.  This has led to the term “after-school style,” which defines the implementation of approaches that are active and that address multiple styles of learning.

Students are safe and engaged between 3-6p.m. while attending an after-school program.  Statistics show these hours as the most dangerous and difficult time of the day for youth, but is the very best time for an afterschool program to operate.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. What does it cost for my child to participate in a FRESH afterschool program?

There is no cost to participate in any of the after school programs coordinated by Fresno County FRESH.

2. What are the after school program hours of operation?

Program schedules are required to begin immediate at the end of the regular school day.  Students should arrive by 3p.m. and stay until 6p.m.  Some districts also operate sessions during the summer months.  Contact your school principal for details.

3. How are FRESH after school programs funded? 

They are funded by two grants: one state and one Federal.

State:  California’s After School Education and Safety (ASES) Program is the result of the 2002 voter approval of Proposition 49.  ASES after school and enrichment programs are powered by partnerships between schools and local community resources to provide literacy, academic enrichment and safe, constructive alternatives for K-9 students during the week from 3pm to 6pm.

Federal:  California Department of Education (CDE) administers the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Program funding as a result of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001.  This grant provides funding to establish or expand before school and after school programs for disadvantaged K-12 students, particularly in schools with low Annual Performance Index scores (API), which are those in need of improvement.

Schools match 33 cents for every after-school dollar from the state, including in-kind support, contributions from private donors, business partnerships, and foundation grants.

4. How do schools qualify for after-school funding?

Schools are qualified based on their Annual Performance Index Annual Performance Index scores (API).  Schools needing overall academic improvement receive added support.

5. How do I know if my child’s school has a program and how do we enroll?

Click on the “Map to School Sites” tab to view the list of after-school program sites in Fresno County.  Contact your school’s office to find out how to enroll your child in the program. Priority is given in the middle school/junior high programs to students who attend daily.

6. What if we have more than one child to enroll?

Contact your children’s school for details.  Typically, there are limited spots available so, when a program is at capacity, waiting lists are available or a school may use a lottery.

7. Is transportation provided for my child from school to home when the program ends at 6pm?

Bus transportation may be provided by your school but is not required.  There is greater availability for bus transportation in rural communities between 5-6 p.m.

If no bus transportation is available, your child must be picked up by you or a designated adult by 6pm.

8. What if I pick up my child by car and I’m late?

Parents must be committed to picking up their child on time or have a designated adult do so on their behalf.  The school will use the emergency contact card to contact a parent if the child remains on campus after 6 p.m. The program reserves the right to charge a late-fee and/or call child protective services if there has been no contact from the parent and the parent is significantly late. Repeated late pick-ups could result in dismissal from the program.

9. What does a typical after school program schedule include?  Are enrichment activities offered?

After-school programs start when regular day school ends and run for three hours and/or until at least 6 p.m.  Programs must maintain a student to staff ratio of 20 to 1  and operate a minimum of 15 hours per week, every regular school day during the school year.  Middle school students must attend at least three days per week or nine hours of after-school instruction.  Click on this link to the CDE for details on Operational Requirements:  http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ba/as/pgmdescription.asp

There are three required program components within the schedule:

1) Tutoring and/or homework assistance and academic skill development to improve academic achievement.

2) A nutritious snack.

3) Enrichment activities for positive youth development, recreation and prevention. Classes are offered in areas of student interest such as visual and performing arts, music, crafts, recreation, science, technology, robotics, vocational development, community outreach, educational field trips and more. Enrichment classes also enhance the school-day curriculum and provide life skills development.

10. How is the afterschool program different from my child’s regular-day curriculum?

After-school programs are designed to align with and complement the school-day curriculum not replicate the regular day. Instead, after school is structured differently to provide students with more interactive, experiential, social learning opportunities in a safe and healthy environment. After-school classes uniquely cater to student interests. Research shows that a balanced approach between the regular-day curriculum and after-school activities can make a difference in student development. Afterschool is committed to a whole-person view of each K-12 child.

11. Will my child still come home with homework if he/she is enrolled in a program after school?

The goal of after-school programming is to support classroom efforts and reinforce instruction. Only a portion of the after school schedule is dedicated to homework.  Tutors do their best to assist but more time may be required for various reasons, i.e the assignment may be complicated and require completion at home without distractions. Notify program staff if you have a concern as every effort is made to accommodate individual needs.

12. Where can my child go if his/her school does not offer an afterschool program or if it’s full?

There is a variety of low cost or no cost programs available for students after school. They are located in neighborhood places such as parks, recreation centers, non-profit youth centers, churches, libraries and museums. Check with your school staff to find out if they know what’s available in your community.

13. What are the minimum qualifications for Afterschool program staff?

All staff members must be fingerprinted, background checked and pass a TB test.  After-school supervisors are approved by the school principal.  Most staff members are attending college or work with their district during the regular day and at many sites credentialed teachers are on staff.  Staff members who supervise students must meet the qualifications for an instructional aide (a degree, 48 units of college-level experience with a minimum C+ average, or passing an approved paraprofessional exam).  Click on this link to the CDE for details:  http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ba/as/pgmdescription.asp

14. Can I suggest or teach an afterschool class/activity I think my child would enjoy?

Yes, suggestions are encouraged! Every program is designed to give voice to all stakeholders including parents and students. Keep in mind that resources may limit the variety of responsive activities, but ideas can always be placed on an after school “wish list” until resources become available.

15. Who do I contact if I have a question, suggestion or concern about the afterschool program, at my child’s school?

Contact the school office and ask for the principal or the after-school coordinator.  Your involvement is welcome!

For a complete a list of FAQs, answers and more, click here:  http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ba/cp/