Thursday, May 5, 2011

Obstacles and Successes in Rural Afterschool Programs

By Kimberly Boyer, guest blogger 

More than 20 percent of America's children attend public schools in rural areas. The state of California ranks among the highest in rates of mobility among rural households and rural students who are English Language Learners. It comes as no surprise that students in rural Central Valley communities face unique obstacles early in life that can perpetuate a pattern of poverty, disenfranchisement and missed opportunities. The benefits of afterschool programs for youth are well documented. Yet, rural schools often struggle to reach the very students who can benefit from these outstanding, free programs. A March 2011 report from the Harvard Family Research Project called "Out-of-School Time Programs in Rural Areas," reveals four major challenges rural programs must overcome: Read more to learn about the four challenges, local examples and successes.

Dr. Kim Boyer is a former director of staff development and research for the Central Valley Afterschool Foundation and currently the interim executive director. She has seven years experience working directly with children as an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles, and as an afterschool program coordinator in Fresno.

For the past two years at CVAF, Kim has helped design and facilitate the Region VII ASSETs Learning Community, in addition to providing support to develop high quality elementary afterschool programs through trainings and onsite coaching. She continues to be involved in the sustainability of high school ASSETs programs, in the development of tools and resources to support Quality Self-Assessment, and in the implementation of English language learner support in afterschool.

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