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After school programs offer academic, childcare assistance

POSTED September 3, 2013 9:57 p.m.

Back to school means back to finding afterschool childcare for many local parents. The Turlock Unified School District stepping in to help by providing more after school assistance for academically disadvantaged students.

 “There’s definitely a need for after school care and academic assistance within our community,” said Karen Packwood,  City of Turlock Recreation supervisor.

During Tuesday’s board meeting, the Turlock Recreation Division presented several educational and play-oriented programs for elementary and middle school students, that are currently being offered in both Turlock and Denair.

 With education being the focus, After School Education & Safety Program was implemented to assist academically disadvantaged students within the district. In the ASES program, students can spend up to two hours working on homework or other assignments. For the past five years, ASES programs have also incorporated the Power of Words program in partnership with Turlock Unified School District and the Stanislaus County office of Education. Power of Words programs roughly follow what students are learning in school and reinforce vocabulary words.

“The purpose of the program is to provide additional assistance for after school homework and a safe environment after school,” said Packwood of ASES.

ASES programs are funded by grants. ASES is offered at Brown, Crowell, Cunningham, Osborn and Wakefield elementary schools, and Turlock Junior High. Each program only admits 90 students, with the exception of Turlock Jr. High, which currently has 160 students.

“Currently, all of the sites are full with waiting lists in every single one of those sites,” said Packwood. “Our largest waiting list is at Osborn, with 106 students on the waiting list.”

PLAY (Positive Leisure Activities for Youth) is one afterschool program run by the Turlock Recreation Department that offers a balance of academics and fun. Students go to PLAY at their own school site when school gets out, and they can stay until 6 p.m. They typically spend 45 minutes to an hour doing homework before they split up into groups for games, physical activity, and arts and crafts. PLAY is offered at Denair schools, Dennis Earl, Julien, Medeiros, Osborn, and Walnut Elementary in Turlock.

“This program is great,” said Trustee Tami Muniz. “We have nothing but positive experiences here at the school sites. I appreciate all of the work that’s put into it.”

Both ASES and PLAY offer financial help to families who qualify. Both programs run from the time school gets out until 6 p.m.

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