Research shows that academic, behavioral and artistic afterschool programs improve all areas of students’ performance in Title One schools. Nyla Bell, now a rising 10th grader with the grades and plans to become a pediatrician, is one of those students. Once a 5th grader with behavior issues, Nyla turned herself around with help from Charleston Promise Neighborhood’s afterschool programs.
Now a 21st Century Community Learning grant for $200,000 from the state of South Carolina will allow Charleston Promise Neighborhood to continue providing robust afterschool services to children at Mary Ford Elementary School this school year.
The services, developed at the invitation of Charleston County School District, include digital learning, social-emotional learning and cultural enrichment programs. About 100 of the 380 students in grade K-5 at Mary Ford participate. The 15-hour-a-week program also provides dinner to participating students.
Charleston Promise Neighborhood has worked with Mary Ford principal La Dené Conroy to write a three-year strategic turnaround plan, which includes the afterschool program as a key driver of success. The 2018-19 school year will be year three of that plan.
Parents of participating students have reported their satisfaction with the afterschool program because it keeps their children safe while they are at work; reinforces school day learning with digital content and homework assistance; and reduces absenteeism and suspensions as attitudes improve from the social-emotional support.
Among the outcomes Charleston Promise Neighborhood will look to produce:
· 50% of participants increase their math grade by half a letter grade over the school year.
· 92% of participants improve their attendance.
· 80% reduce the number of discipline incidents.
· 75% of parents attending parenting education classes demonstrate growth on an exit assessment.
The Charleston Promise Neighborhood is an area rich in human assets but poor in resources and opportunity. 93.4% of students live in poverty; 8.4% of Mary Ford students meet state math expectations and 6.5% meet state reading expectations. Charleston Promise Neighborhood’s mission is to help students in The Neck graduate from high school prepared for success in the workforce, military or college.