Afterschool Programs Help Shape Students Lives

Afterschool Programs Help Shape Students Lives
Posted on 04/25/2019

The afterschool programs offered by the School District of Palm Beach County are helping to shape students’ lives. Students build confidence, learn to budget their time, and gain life skills while having fun.

Elementary and middle school children can participate in an array of afterschool clubs, including engineering, music, dance, sports, coding, recycling, and reading. Students are given time to complete homework with the help of certified teachers, and they’re also offered a nutritious snack.

“Students that participate often show gains in math and reading scores, they’re able to have higher level social skills, and they’re just able to communicate on a higher level,” said Pam Townsend, Extended Learning Instructional Specialist with the District.

Cultivating social skills is one of the most valuable aspects of afterschool programs in the District. These efforts are part of a concept known as Social Emotional Learning.

“It is the process by which we teach our students the skills, the knowledge and the attitude necessary for them to manage their emotions and to interact with each other in a positive way,” said Dr. Patricia Ordonez-Feliciano, principal at West Gate Elementary School.

Ordonez-Feliciano and her staff have included Social Emotional Learning techniques in daily school activities for more than two years and are seeing increased cooperation among students, more compassionate interaction, fewer conflict incidents, and even improved attendance.

Latricia Lamour, a student at West Gate Elementary, enjoys the afternoon activities that are part of the Social Emotional Learning curriculum. Her favorite activities include talking with classmates about everyday challenges. “I feel like it could change somebody’s life and change their minds about situations, so they can feel happy and not by themselves.”

Social Emotional Learning techniques include games, discussions, and activities aimed at giving students quality interactions as well as time to learn more about themselves and others.

“It’s amazing,” said Marie Gavino, Afterschool Director at Forest Hill Elementary. “What I think it can do is they’ll be able to develop into more mature, responsible young adults that are able to make decisions, take initiative, and become very well-rounded, productive members of the community.”

To learn more about afterschool programs and Social Emotional Learning efforts in the District, please watch these videos.

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The School District of Palm Beach County