Journal Times Editorial: After-school programs work and should be funded

Recently, the Journal Times published an editorial in support of after-school programs. The Editorial Board noted that data from Racine Unified Schools and the Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction, as well as national data from the Harvard Family Research Project all shows evidence that after-school programs improve children’s performance in school.

Data from the Fall-Spring MAP testing at Wadewitz Elementary School shows students who have attended ten or more days of YLA afterschool programs having higher reading growth rates by 25% than students who have not participated in afterschool activities. The most recent data from the Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction reports that, among participating students in after-school programming, 73% improved their academic performance.

Studies across the country show that providing after-school programming for students is beneficial for their development and educational success. In 2008, the Harvard Family Research Project completed a two-year long study and reported students who participated in after-school activities showed significant improvements in standardized math scores than their peers.

Higher Expectations partnered with the YMCA Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) as well as Racine Unified’s Lighted Schoolhouse after-school programs to better understand their impact on student growth throughout the school year. Our data review had an emphasis on identifying strategies that supported after-school program participation and increased performance for Racine Unified’s elementary students. By offering data support to identify bright spots, Higher Expectations provided Racine Unified and the YMCA with the ability to adjust programs around the strategies that work best for students.

​Read the Journal Times to learn more.