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KSBA News Article

Relief funds can fuel afterschool programs


Kentucky School Advocate
October 2022

By Josh Shoulta
KSBA staff writer

The Kentucky Out-of-School Alliance (KYOSA) and KSBA presented a webinar, “Engage Every Student: Using afterschool and summer to accelerate student learning.” The Sept. 21 training was led by two experts on effective afterschool programs: Tom Haggard, director of KYOSA and a Covington Ind. board member, and Terry Peterson, national board chair for the Afterschool Alliance.

With the school year having just started, many education leaders may not yet be thinking about expanding summer learning or offering new afterschool opportunities, but availability of funding may warrant having those conversations now. Haggard pointed to an “unprecedented time” while districts have more resources available through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to either start or expand afterschool programming.

Nearly $1.9 billion in ARP funds have been allocated to Kentucky school districts, at least 20% of which are designated for addressing learning loss.

“Comprehensive afterschool and summer enrichment opportunities and partnerships are specifically called out in the law as strategies to address learning recovery,” Peterson said.

Strategies for addressing learning loss are to be evidence based, he added. Fortunately, decades of research indicates that quality afterschool programs are proven to accelerate student achievement and development, specifically in the areas of attendance, behavior and coursework.


Despite success, many of Kentucky’s most vulnerable families seeking these programs are left without options due to lack of transportation and affordability. For many, the service simply is not available.“For every one student enrolled in an out-of-school-time program, four more are waiting to get in,” Haggard said.

Based on Kentucky family survey data, that amounts to nearly 179,000 children waiting on access to summer programs and 280,000 waiting on afterschool opportunities.

KYOSA is working with districts, particularly those where afterschool programs are most needed, to connect them with resources to build and sustain programs – including how to properly allocate funding and personnel resources.

During the month of October, KSBA members and their districts will receive helpful materials based on the “Engage Every Student” webinar, including access to a recording of the training that board members may choose to complete as a self-study (good for 1 hour of elective state-mandated board training credit). Districts will also be asked to take part in a brief survey.


5 Things every school board member should know about afterschool programs

1. They work: For catching up, keeping up and getting ahead, afterschool and summer learning opportunities make a positive difference for students. Research tells us these programs improve the student “ABC’s” (that’s attendance, behavior and coursework).

2. It’s a smart investment: For every $1 invested in afterschool/summer learning programs, taxpayers save at least $3. Districts can use ARP ESSER funds right now to launch and expand programs and can later sustain them with other state/federal funds.

3. Families love them: Those with access to high-quality programming report nearly universal satisfaction and appreciation. 96% of Kentucky parents say their child’s afterschool program provides a safe environment and 80% agree that the program helps them keep their job or work more hours to support their family.

4. Students need them: School board members know they must design systems to address student learning loss and social-emotional isolation experienced due to COVID-19 disruptions. Afterschool and summer learning galvanize the entire community to support student success through local arts, sports, STEM, mentorship and even local colleges and universities.

5. They support your workforce: Afterschool and summer learning programs offer excellent supplementary income for teachers, paraprofessionals and other school staff. Programs can even be used to build your own teacher pipelines by providing excellent experience in academic support, classroom management and student relationship building.  

Source: Kentucky Out-of-School Alliance

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