Should after-school programs be an extension of the school day?

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Michelle (not verified)

After school activities are

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After school activities are great because 1) the kids want to be there, and 2) the teachers in charge of each activity want to be there. Many kids who are teased during the day shine in after school activities because they can pick activities that their tormentors don't participate in. Teachers are more involved because everyone wants to be there. Making this mandatory will serve no extra purpose and people will just start dreading it since everyone is forced to participate. Let the people who want to be there, just be there!
Pat Galvin (not verified)

at the middle school level,

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at the middle school level, I believe that students need a change of activities at the end of the day, so conventional academic enrichment is not beneficial to most students of this age. The kids who aren't succeeding during the regular school day do NOT gain from an extra class tacked on to the end of the day. These are kids who NEED to participate in intramural sports where they can feel good about themselves, or help out on the stage crew, or participate in school drama productions. Some students may crave a structured environment in which to do their homework, and if they can't get that at home perhaps the school can provide a place. But I object to requiring the kids who aren't achieving academically to merely extend their "torture" by being assigned to more of the same.
Hal Portner (not verified)

As long as extended school

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As long as extended school days are just more of the same, they will probably not make much difference in student learning. After school programs can, because they don't carry the "accountability" restrictions of the regular school day.
Susan Antonoff (not verified)

As an elementary school

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As an elementary school teacher I already have inadequate time to prepare for the differentiated academic instruction I need to offer my students. I understand the need for children in today's world to be part of supervised after-school activities. But, once again placing yet another responsibility on teachers is only detracting from planning for and educating children in content areas. Why not consider tapping into local park districts, which every family has access to. It is time for public opinion to change. That we, as educators, are not baby-sitters.
Michelle (not verified)

Why not a combination of the

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Why not a combination of the two schools of thought? A well-structured program would incorporate both academic skills and estracurruclar activities.
Gail Paulin (not verified)

Somehow we have come to the

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Somehow we have come to the conclusion that if we just do more of a thing it will make kids better at it. Though it is true that practice makes perfect, I have serious concerns that the main message for schools today is to pass the test and not to become a well rounded learner. By allowing schools to offer a variety of non-academic experience we help balance the students perception of what education encompasses, develop self esteem and reinforce the the value of informal learning. If extra curriculars involve meaningful conversations and experiences with adults and peers in a caring environment they will support the acqusition of more formal learning during the school day....
Hal Portner (not verified)

As long as extended school

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As long as extended school days are just more of the same, they will probably not make much difference in student learning. After school programs can, because they don't carry the "accountability" restrictions of the regular school day, can offer kinds of activities that reinforce and extend structured curriculum.
Megan Fidler-Carey (not verified)

After-school activities are

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After-school activities are an opportunity to focus on academic SKILLS rather than CONTENT. In a system where standardized tests require teachers to provide content and specific structure, there is little time to practice learning strategies and problem-solving. After-school clubs and classes can use games and role-plays to supplement what the school day has no time for.
Cindy Bennett (not verified)

My first question would be

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My first question would be "What are we concidering as 'extracurricular'?" Mandated assessments and shrinking budgets have marginalized and even eliminated arts programs from many school curriculums. In some schools music and art (crafts) are being offered as an "extra" and unfortunately their content is being separated from the "academic" learning experience. Also, activities offered outside of the school day are often used as child care for some families and for other families whose finances are thin, an unnecessary luxury.
Willie Watts (not verified)

How much time do we need to

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How much time do we need to devote to classroom, academic learning? Most students have absorbed as much as they can possibly handle at the end of the "regular" school day and, most likely, will not learn any additional knowledge in an extended classroom setting. Their learning/experiencing the required curriculum is all contingent upon the teachers teaching to the students' learning styles. If the teachers are teaching the students incorrectly, then extended time in the academic environment will not resolve any problem areas in their knowledge of a particular subject area. Emphasize homework, so that the students have time to reflect on what they have experienced during their classroom sessions. This will assist in increasing their knowledge base and cognitive skills. Educators and legislators may need to consider devoting more time and money to after-school activities that will interest as many students as possible. This could possibly motivate the students to learn more in the academic arena and better prepare them for a role in their community.
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