We know that high quality afterschool and summer learning programs play a critical role in keeping K-12 students on the Cycle of Success by providing the academic enrichment and supportive relationships they need to stay engaged in school and graduate. For many working families, however, programs and extracurricular activities are unaffordable and inaccessible to the children who need them most. Children from low-income families are less likely to participate in safe, quality afterschool activities than children from higher income families, causing children who may already be struggling to keep up academically to fall even further behind their peers.
That's why United Way of Greenville County is implementing BOOST—a strategic initiative aimed at creating a system to improve the quality of expanded-learning programs and mitigate the achievement gap by ensuring that all children have abundant learning opportunities beyond the school day.
Why Afterschool Matters
Eighteen percent of school-age children are home unsupervised after school, putting them at risk for being in danger or getting into trouble. Children who are home alone between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. are more likely to become the victims or perpetrators of crime.
In Greenville County, 1 in 4 children is living in poverty and 1 in 5 will not graduate high school. Children from low-income families are less likely to participate in safe, quality afterschool activities than children from more affluent families, causing children who are already at a disadvantage to fall even further behind their peers in terms of their academic achievement and social skills.
Expanding Learning to Bridge the Achievement Gap
National research shows that high-quality expanded learning programs help students perform better in school, graduate high school, and gain the social-emotional skills needed to achieve long-term success.
Through a coordinated network of expanded-learning providers and other key stakeholders, BOOST is working to raise the quality of afterschool and summer programs and expand access for disadvantaged children. We advocate by demonstrating how expanded learning can bridge the achievement gap by giving kids the learning opportunities they need to thrive and reach their potential.
In order to build a stronger and more coordinated afterschool sector, broad support is needed from all stakeholders including:
School administrators and teachers
Youth service providers
Universities and community colleges
Parents and families
and people like you who want to expand learning opportunities and provide the critical support that families need in order to equip students with the academic, social and life skills necessary to succeed in a 21st century world.