Data Helps After School Providers Improve Programs
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Participating in Isaac Litton's step team makes staying after school more exciting for students.
"A lot of our kids are latch key kids or latch key students whose parents work long hours or a couple of jobs just to make ends meet," Principal Tracy Bruno said.
The second hour of the program involves tutoring.
"If they're just hanging around they could be influenced the wrong way," Bruno said.
For four years the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) has partnered with community agencies to organize free programs in some of Metro's neediest middle schools; this year serving 1,200 hundred students.
"We know it's really during those middle school years when students drop out," Mayor Karl Dean's Director of After School Initiatives, Candy Markman said. "They drop out first psychologically and by the time they get to high school they drop out physically."
Today, both principals and after school providers were at the same table and for the first time they're using concrete data to tailor this year's programs to meet the specific needs of students.
They're looking at student discipline data, grades and attendance.
"In the age of accountability you can't just have a program come in and maybe baby sit kids," Bruno said, "or so something that has nothing to do with what you're doing in class."
With more data about each student more adults can intervene before it's too late.
This year Metro plans to release a report that chronicles the followed students over three years to see how or if the programs are working.