From a single program serving five children to comprehensive afterschool and summer programming for more than 1,300 students in 2013, FKO strives to meet an ever-increasing demand for quality services that maximize learning benefits during the non-school hours. Seventeen program sites now partner with six school districts in Chelsea, Everett, Peabody, Revere, Salem and Winthrop, Massachusetts. Our comprehensive model focuses on the following core strategies to meet our mission.
Today, families, schools and communities look to out-of-school time (OST) programs as much more than a place for children to be supervised while parents work. The time children spend in afterschool environments, as many as 25 hours per week during the school year, is increasingly relied upon to provide expanded learning opportunities that support school educational goals and individual student academic achievement. Programs are also seen as a means to help address the achievement gap between low-income students and those from more affluent households. Research tells us that participation in quality afterschool programs has far-reaching educational benefits; it can improve attitudes toward school (Afterschool Alliance 2008) and promote school attendance and increased engagement in learning during the school day. (Goldschmidt, Huang, & Chinen, 2007).
To provide a seamless alignment between school day and afterschool learning, FKO collaborates with school districts and individual schools in the six communities where programs are located. A formal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) developed for each partnering school district articulates partner roles and responsibilities, establishes standards for results-based relationships between FKO staff and school personnel, and sets a clear path for curriculum alignment. FKO educators communicate daily with school faculty and guidance counselors on student performance and strategies to boost student achievement.