The Newman Crows Landing Unified School district held a team conference on Saturday to discuss how to most effectively run before and after school programs at Yolo Middle School. This was an opportunity for all staff from five schools representing multiple out-of-school time programs to be together and build community, learn some new skills in working with youth and together craft a mission statement customized for their program.
For the past three years NCLUSD principals have managed their own programs, but this year the School Board elected to fill the position of Director of Before & After School Programs with Alyson Cassidy, who previously worked in a similar capacity in Patterson.
“I love doing this kind of thing, I’ve been doing it for 13 years and I worked with Shawn (the Superintendent) for 10 of those. He gets hired here and I see this position posted and we talk on the phone and I was like that’s for me. I’ve been here six weeks and it’s been beautiful and wonderful,” said Cassidy.
The day started with a welcoming address from Superintendent Shawn Posey, who thanked everyone for the work they do and why BSP and ASP programs are important.
“The after school programs are where some of our most needy kids get service. We asked the graduating class to name one adult who meant the most to them and time and time they said it was the ones at the after school programs,” said Posey.
The conference reviewed the 12 quality standards for expanded learning programs outlined by the California Department of Education. Some of the standards include: skill building, healthy choices and behaviors, quality staff, program management and sustainability.
“The ASPs have some exciting plans to bring to students this year including some highly engaging activities and clubs, academic intervention provided during program hours to further support students beyond the school day and connecting with the community through service learning projects that all ASP youth can participate in,” said Cassidy.
Led by Cassidy, the staff broke off into groups and explained how their program was executing these practices. Answers ranged from having a student council to providing healthy snacks to all students.
The group later went on to discuss best ways to do activity planning. One of the biggest takeaways was to make sure students were engaged at all time and this includes providing small activities on their desk so they always have something to do.
“One of the biggest things I realized is that every program is going to be different. I could go to one classroom and it’s completely silent and I could go to another and you could hear a lot of voices. So you have to determine what works best for you,” said Cassidy.
The day ended with the group deciding on a new name and unanimously choosing a new mission statement. The new name is Beyond Bell and the new mission statement describes the mission of the program moving forward.
“We are committed to creating a supportive and enjoyable environment while promoting self confidence, self love and respect. We commit to this by instilling in students a sense of belonging while encouraging leadership through diversity and inclusiveness. Students’ social skills and academics will be prioritized through positive motivation, reassurance, teamwork and true relationship-building.”