Middle School After-School Program
Fairfax County Office of
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 711, FAX 703-324-2010
April 14, 2006
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Fairfax County School Board to Kick Off Middle School After-School Program Expansion
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly and Fairfax County School Board Chairman Ilryong Moon will kick off the expanded Fairfax County Middle School After-School Program on Wednesday, April 19, at 4 p.m., at Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church.
Currently, eight middle schools are in the process of expanding their after-school programs from three days a week to five days a week through a partnership between the Fairfax County Department of Community and Recreation Services and the Fairfax County Public Schools After-School Program Office. Four additional schools recently hired coordinators to expand their after-school programs, with the remaining 14 scheduled to be hired by the end of June. Expanded after-school programs are scheduled to be operational in all 26 county middle schools for the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year.
“The expansion of the after-school program in middle schools is critical to the Board of Supervisors’ ongoing efforts to prevent our children from joining gangs,” said Connolly. “Providing young people, especially middle-school students, with constructive, safe activities reduces the opportunities for gang recruitment. We know that students are most vulnerable during the hours between when students leave school and parents come home from work. The after-school program helps young people develop academic and other skills in a safe and caring environment.”
According to Moon, “Research indicates that high-quality after-school programs can markedly increase engagement in learning and that students who are engaged in learning behave better in school and have better work habits, improved attitudes toward school, a greater sense of belonging to the community and better relationships with their parents.”
Today, nearly 70 percent of Fairfax County families have dual working parents or a single working parent. A majority of middle school youth are latchkey children who return to empty houses at the end of the regular school day.
“When the school bell rings, the anxiety of parents often just begins,” said Luther Jackson Middle School Principal Carol Robinson. “They worry about whether their children are safe and whether they are susceptible to youth violence and gang activity, alcohol, tobacco and drug use, and crime.”
In response to this concern, the Board of Supervisors earmarked $3.5 million to expand the after-school program in all 26 county middle schools. This new investment builds on an ongoing effort in Fairfax County to provide high-quality after-school activities for middle school youth through the collaborative efforts of the School Board, the Board of Supervisors, school-community coalitions and the Fairfax Partnership for Youth.
The after-school programs will operate five days a week for at least two hours following the close of school in most schools. The following middle schools currently have expanded programs: Jackson, Glasgow, Herndon, Key, Lake Braddock, Liberty, Poe and South County. The following schools should have programs underway by the end of the school year: Whitman, Kilmer, Thoreau and Longfellow. Expanded after-school programs are to be in operation at the remaining schools by the beginning of the next school year.
Additional information on the after-school programs is available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/rec and www.fcps.edu/supt/activities/afterschool.htm. For further information about the After-School Program for Middle Schools, contact Patti McGrath, Fairfax County Department of Community and Recreation Services, at 703-324-5719, TTY 711, or firstname.lastname@example.org and Mark Emery, Fairfax County Public Schools, at 571-423-1270, TTY 711, or email@example.com.