Before- and after-school program gets nod


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LOYALTON - Children attending the Upper Dauphin Area Elementary School will have a chance to participate in a new before- and after-school program within their building.

Their school was also recognized recently with two awards.

The UDA school board June 10 approved the program, and heard from Danielle Mace, Childcare Director, with the Northern Dauphin County Branch of the YMCA, the organization which would run the program.

Mace said the YMCA has been operating a similar before- and after-school program in the Halifax Area School District for more than 10 years and it's been successful.

According to Mace, two staff members would need to be at the school facility, and up to 24 pupils could participate. On average, about 12 to 18 students are anticipated to take part. Through DPW rules, the YMCA is required to have someone on-site with a degree, as well as have an assistant, she said.

Typically, the program would use the school's gymnasium, or playground, but may also ask for the use of another classroom for alternate usage during times when other organizations or community groups are using the gym.

According to the written proposal from Susan E. Jacobs, Executive Director, Northern Dauphin County, YMCA, the program would run at the elementary facility from 5:30 a.m. until the start of the school day; and again from the end of the school day to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Activities would include homework, quiet reading, tutoring, recreation play, arts, crafts, drug and alcohol awareness curriculums, along with bully prevention.

Morning schedule

The YMCA will serve breakfast to children who provide their own breakfast and the YMCA will provide milk, water, bowls and utensils. Parents will be required to sign-in their children in the morning. Parents would have to accompany their child into the building and specify which food is for breakfast. This will eliminate the possibility of a child eating from their lunchbox if they packed lunch that day. The children will be permitted to keep their breakfast in a small supply closet, but they must be marked with the child's name. All activities in the morning will be kept to a low physical level so that children are not excited or overly tired for the school day.

Afternoon schedule

End of school day to 3:30 p.m.- snack; 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.- homework, tutoring; 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. - recreational play, YMCA Character Development Programs, arts, crafts, and quiet sit-down activities.

A snack and milk/water will be provided by the YMCA in the afternoon. All children will be required to work on their homework for at least 30 minutes. If the children do not have any homework to complete, they are required to do a quite activity during this time.

The program ends promptly at 6 p.m. While the YMCA attempts to be understanding of family emergencies, it does reserve the right to charge $1 for every minute past 6 p.m. for each staff person in the building. There will be at least two staff on duty at all times.

Costs would be about $67 per week. The YMCA does accept childcare network assistance and does carry its own liability insurance, Mace said.

Awards

In other business at the June 10 meeting, Superintendent Evan Williams announced to the board that the elementary school had been recognized with two awards. The awards include the Shippensburg University School Study Council 2014 Commended Program Award, for the 2013-14 academic year, in recognition of the Elementary RtII Program; and the Governor's Award for Excellence in Academics, for achieving exceptional student academic achievement during the 2012-13 school year.

Specifically, on the 2012-13 School Performance Profile, UDA Elementary School earned a score of 91.2 percent, which is based on multiple measures of student academic achievement, including academic growth, performance on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA), attendance rate and other measures of the school's academic health.

Signed by Governor Tom Corbett, the proclamation read, "This school will serve as a role model to its peers across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for its ability to showcase what can be achieved when quality educational programs, enthusiastic teachers and staff, dedicated administrators, parents and a supportive community come together on behalf of students."

Williams presented certificates, and a banner to Elementary Principal Jessica S. Megonnell, as well as kindergarten teachers Meghan Daniels and Hillary Buffington, who accepted on behalf of the entire staff.

Megonnell said she wanted to publicly thank her staff and students for their hard work.

"I'm blessed to have such great people to work with. . . and thank you to the school board for your support," Megonnell said.

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