Thursday, December 2, 2010

Police, SM School District and YMCA Involved in After School Program for Westridge Middle School

Since the start of the school year, the Westridge Middle School Administration and School Resource Officer have been working with the YMCA to start up youth activities at the Middle School level. At this time, middle schools do not offer many after school activities. It is projected by February 2011, the few activities available will no longer be offered due to budget constraints. Currently, Westridge funds late buses three days a week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the school provides four teachers to stay after school for tutoring. On average, 50-60 kids stay after school to receive extra help with their homework. On Wednesdays, one sport activity is offered along with a couple of small "club" groups. YMCA offered to provide an additional late bus on Mondays and to supplement four additional teachers on Mondays and Wednesdays for extra tutoring assistance. This would provide after school tutoring four days a week rather than two. It would also provide late buses four days a week instead of three. It was decided to start with one sport and one "skill" activity after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These activities would run from 4:00pm to 5:45pm. Students who need to take the late bus would be able to leave at 4:45pm. For those students able to make other arrangements they would be allowed to stay until 5:45pm for the full session, when a parent may be able to pick them up. Based on the results of a student survey, indoor soccer and cooking were the most popular activities. In order to make the sporting activities feel like a "real" league to the kids, YMCA will be looking for a primary coach to be available for each of the Tuesday and Thursday sessions with volunteers to supplement the coach. Ideally, the ratio would be at least 1 adult supervisor per 12-15 kids.

The Police Department is in discussion on how to be involved in the program. One suggestion is to have an officer present on Tuesdays and Thursdays until 5:45pm to interact with the students in a community relations role. The goal is to begin this program early next year. As the program progresses, a wider selection of activities may be offered. In addition, perhaps other middle schools may offer this program to their students.