Capital School District holds after school event

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen reads to students during the Capital School District’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Lights on Afterschool event held at the Dover Public Library on Oct. 25. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — The successful Capital School District’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Lights on Afterschool event held at the Dover Public Library by the Capital School District on Oct. 25 wants to thank all of their partners.

Dover City Councilman David Anderson and Mayor Robin Christiansen took the time to read aloud to students of East Dover Elementary School. Mayor Christiansen and Councilman Anderson both helped teach important lessons in fire safety by reading aloud stories featuring firefighters and actions of family members.

Both reminded the students that we are coming up on the time to check the batteries on all of our smoke detectors which keeps us all safe. Dover Public Library is also commended for their help for this event and their dedication every day.

Lights On Afterschool celebrates the achievements of after school students and draw attention to the need for more after school programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon. The gathering was one of more than 8,000 such events across the nation emphasizing the importance of keeping the lights on and the doors open after school.

Students participated in mini workshops for 3-D printing, math, reading, drumming, coding, OSMO, Little Bytes, bike safety, signing and improvisation; all offered at the after school programs. Originally organized by the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool has been celebrated annually since 2000. This year, more than 1 million Americans demonstrated their support for after school by taking part in the only nationwide rally for after school programs.

A newly released national poll illustrates that the high level of support for after school shown by those joining Lights On celebrations extends to the overall population. The poll, released in conjunction with Lights On, shows that nearly nine in 10 adults (89 percent) say they believe after school and summer programs are important to their communities. That includes majorities of Democrats and Republicans.

The poll also finds strong backing of public funding for after school and summer learning programs, with two in three adults saying they want their federal, state and local leaders to provide funding for after school and summer programs.

Yet, demand for after school programs continues to far outpace the supply of existing programs. Data from America After 3PM, the research series on after school commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance, shows a vast unmet demand for after school programs nationwide. In Delaware, 26,240 children participate in after school programs. If a program were available, 48,140 additional children would participate.

In Delaware, the 21st Century CLCs support 5,937 children attending programs serving high poverty areas and attending low-performing schools. 21st Century CLCs provide children with a safe environment that inspires them to learn and help working families.

“Lights On Afterschool celebrates the remarkable work being done by students who attend our after school programs,” said Natalie Way, Central Middle 21st Century CLC site coordinator,

“It is a powerful reminder that after school programs offer a range of supports to children and families. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough after school programs, and too many kids are home alone in the afternoons or on the streets where they can be exposed to crime or at-risk. We must open more programs and make sure lawmakers invest more in after school. I am personally committed to doing all I can to ensure that every Dover child who needs an after school program has one.

“We are all very proud of our after school students,” said Ms. Way. “There’s no reason that learning should stop at 3 p.m., particularly if the alternative is unsupervised time in front of a television set, or any of the dangerous or unhealthy behaviors that can ensnare children in the afternoons. Like so many other after school programs around the nation, ours is supported by funding from the federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative. Since its creation, it has provided funding to allow millions of children to attend after school. We need to grow this funding stream for after school and summer learning programs.”

Central Middle) Students with Amazing Goals opened in 2017 with a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It now serves over 100 children each day, providing homework assistance, mentoring, tutoring, and classes and clubs in sports, recreation, mathematics, chess, and dozens of other subjects.

Capital School District 21st Century programs support honor students as well as students in the autism program. The program is a collaboration of the school system, Junior Achievement of Delaware, Central Delaware YMCA, City of Dover Police Department, three local colleges and many more.

The Capital School District manages four sites that service a minimum of 100 students at each site. The locations include East Dover Elementary School, William Henry Middle School, Central Middle School and Dover High School. The program provides a continuum of services from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality afterschool programs. More information on the Afterschool Alliance, Lights On Afterschool and America After 3PM is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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