Highfields’ after school program, Reaching Higher, is funded through a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant administered by the Michigan Department of Education. Currently, programs are in operation in Ingham County at Leslie Middle School, Gardner Middle School and Shabazz Academy and in Jackson County at daVinci Primary School, Springport Middle School and Western Middle school in Parma. Through these programs, students in Kindergarten through eighth grade are receiving services. Each site is licensed as a qualified child care center through the Michigan Department of Human Services.
Programming is coordinated to expose students to a more hands-on approach to reinforce learning. Improving academics is addressed through homework help and tutoring in addition to direct instruction by certified teachers. The primary focus is on Reading and Math, however other subjects are addressed. Additionally, planned activities are designed to educate students in life skills that enhance their ability to learn in a classroom setting by teaching social skills, anger management, and problem solving. Another key factor is exposing youth to life-long positive leisure activities that will offer a sense of achievement and build positive self-regard. Students are exposed to cultural factors to broaden their horizons and offer an appreciation for diversity. A wide variety of field trips are taken to enhance programming.
The primary goals of the Reaching Higher after school program are:
- Increase student academic achievement by increasing Reading and Math grades and MEAP scores at each site.
- Increase student learning in academic areas.
- Increase student learning in non-academic areas such as leadership and peer relationships and an increased awareness of the arts, technology, health and nutrition and other positive leisure activities.
- Improve student classroom behavior.
- Increase parent/guardian involvement with their child’s education and increase communication with teachers.
The Reaching Higher after school program provides structured programming two and a half hours a day, Monday through Thursday each week upon school release for a total of 10 hours weekly. The program operates at least 32 weeks during the school year and six weeks during the summer for a total of 38 weeks for 45 students per site. Middle school sites participate in six weeks of summer school whereas elementary school sites have four weeks of summer school and two weeks of summer day camp held at Highfields’ main campus. A snack and supper is provided daily throughout the school year to students through the Child and Adult Care Food Program offered through the Michigan Department of Education.
For more information contact the after school project director, Brenda Weck, at 517-628-2287 ext. 324.