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Opportunities For Students In After School Programs

A quality education in Oakdale schools extends beyond the classroom, as the Oakdale Joint Unified School District supports the After School Programs: grant funded, ASES (After School Education and Safety), ASPIRE and OASIS at the Junior High Level.

Director of State and Federal Programs, Armida Colon shared an informative report with the OJUSD Board during the December meeting. Colon shared with the board details on the ASES Program, hosted at Cloverland, Fair Oaks and Magnolia elementary schools, as well as the ASPIRE program hosted at those three as well as Sierra View.

ASES (After School Education and Safety) is a grant-based program. Due to the socioeconomic profile of Sierra View, it’s not eligible. There are two elements to both programs: literacy and enrichment.

“It’s identifying students that are in need of academic intervention,” Colon said of the ASES program and the students it serves. She included that while ASES is grant based, ASPIRE is a fee based program.

“We’ve seen the numbers go up the last few years,” she said of the After School Programs, as a whole. “That’s an indicator of a lot more families that are out working and need a place to leave their children.”

There are currently a total of close to 650 students participating in one of the three programs at the four named school sites. The programs are staffed with one staff per every 20 students. Staffing at each site is dependent on enrollment. Oakdale campuses range from three to six staffers, plus an on-site Supervisor at each campus.

“The most unique part of it is every one of our programs has a site supervisor,” Colon said of OJUSD’s commitment to the quality of its program.

“I know for certain that the fact that we have a dedicated supervisor for the after school program and it’s our own staff is what we can definitely attribute to the success and high quality of our programing,” Colon shared.

During the literacy portion of the after school programs, ASES students are offered academic support, which is more structured and supported/teacher led. This one hour time slot equally allows the ASPIRE students of the program to work on homework under supervision.

“During the enhancement hour is where we’re seeing a variety of enrichments that are happening,” Colon stated.

The enrichment hour offers all students the opportunity to explore activities in the performing arts, varying creative projects, robotics, as well as nutrition activities.

Free play, either outdoors (weather permitting), viewing a movie or playing board games, rounds out the third and final hour. That’s a time when attendance tends to drop as students are going home.

“The focus used to be around just crafts,” Colon said. “Now it really is about enriching opportunities and developing skills among the kids.”

In closing, Colon shared with the board a quote which has become a sort of telling mantra for the program and its growing success.

“Kids come for the program, but they stay for the experience,” she concluded.

Information on the programs may be obtained through the OJUSD office or by visiting the website