Why What Matters After School Program?
In 2014 we implemented our pilot program at Bayside High School. We selected 28 students to participate in our one-and-one training and mentorship program with Charles Clark; that was build on a strong foundation trust and accountability. These students embarked on a two month course that was created to strengthen their character, interpersonal skill development, leadership development, time management, and business skills. The strategies that were used such as; Active Learning, After-School Opportunities, Career and Technology Education (CTE) and Mentoring, not only are effective strategies for dropout prevention (according to NDPCN) but also accelerates educational and business growth from middle school to high school, high school to college, and from college to career. Our program starts with goal setting with applicable steps to attain their vision. Through surveying students we discovered that having professional figures (athletes, entrepreneurs, and college students) is very instrumental in triggering these students to have a stronger desire to accomplish more.
Our program was immensely successful with a steady retention rate of 75 percent. With the extensive demand for academic success in in-school education; career driven (business, arts) students are left with minimal opportunity to hone their career path. By providing select schools with the What Matters Women of Valor and Gentlemen of Integrity after school program; we give latchkey students these elements that ignite success.
Charles Clark said, “This program is based off of everything I wish I had in my earlier stages of development. I was that latchkey kid with only my mom to raise me and my two brothers. She worked 8:00am-5:30pm. Parents can’t do it all, it really takes a community to raise well rounded men and women. If I had what we are giving these students today; a cultured experience around the Hampton Roads through our business network and mission trips, mentoring them with steps to reach their goals, and resources that changes circumstances, I believe I would have done a lot better academically.”
Women of Valor and Gentlemen of Integrity program uses methods that have been proven to drive success in business leaders, entrepreneurs, athletes, arts, and organizations. These are models that have been used by well known authors such as; Napoleon Hill, Michael Port, Josh Kaufman, and David Allen.
All of the Charles Clark What Matters Foundation program and events align with VFEL mission, VBPS Compass to 2015, and Virginia Beach Boards of Education goals.
Why is What Matters After-School Opportunities Needed?
According to National Dropout Prevention Center / Network
Each weekday afternoon, at least 8 million “latchkey” children are left alone and unsupervised (Department of Education, 2002). Only 20% of a child’s waking hours are spent in school (Miller, 1995). Both parents are in the labor force and children are left unsupervised after school and during summer vacations. The highest crime rate during the week is from 3:00-7:00 p.m. No child will be left behind when quality after-school programs are available in every school and all children have the same safe, nurturing, enriching, and character-building opportunities (Life before after-school programs, 2002). After-school programs may be the only opportunity for at-risk students to have quality academic support, recreation, or cultural enrichment activities such as music and dance.
Proponents of after-school programs believe that they have a positive effect on the academic success and social behavior of at-risk students. A study by Posner and Vandell (1999) found that children who participated in quality after-school programs were better emotionally adjusted and had better peer relationships.
(Hahn, 1994). After-school programs provide hope and open youth to a wide range of possibilities.
Impact of After-School Opportunities
A recent report on California’s after-school programs found many positive impacts that resulted from the programs (Department of Education, 2002). Participating students demonstrated increased achievement, regular attendance, good behavior, and a reduction in grade retention. Those at-risk students in the lowest quartile on standardized test scores and English Language Learners showed the greatest improvement. Students also showed improved social skills and behavior which resulted in fewer disciplinary incidents at school and fewer suspensions. There was a 53.4% decrease in retention in the primary grades associated with the program. The cost savings to the state as a result of the decrease in student retention is substantial. Savings in 2001-2002 are projected at more than $11 million. Additional savings are realized as a result of a reduction in juvenile crime. The programs are also highly cost effective; the cost is $1.67 per student per hour of participation. It is estimated that more than 100,000 youth are being served (Department of Education, 2002).
Key Elements of Successful Programs
Peterson and Fox (2004) suggest the following key components of effective programs:
- Academic offerings—homework assistance, tutoring, hands-on learning, reading and writing enrichment;
- Enrichment and accelerated learning—exposure to visual and performing arts, field trips, character education, critical thinking skills, foreign languages, and technology;
- Supervised recreation—organized sports and sports education; and
- Community service—connects students to the community.