Archive | February, 2014

The Importance of Strengthening Afterschool Partnerships 2014

25 Feb


For the next featured article from the compendium, Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success, FAN Board Member and retired Superintendent of St. Lucie County, Florida Public Schools, Michael Lannon, provides insight into the collaborative partnership that is essential between school principals and afterschool and summer learning program directors to achieve positive school/afterschool outcomes for children and youth. Michael Lannon, Florida Afterschool Network CEO Joe Davis, and USD 500/Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Cynthia Lane, recently presented to the American Association of School Administrators national conference attendees in Nashville, Tennessee on the topic of “Leveraging the Power of After School and Summer Learning for Student Success”.

High quality education is everyone’s business. If we believe that all children and youth can learn and indeed that all children and youth can learn more than they previously have, then we must accept that in order for that to happen all of us must play the appropriate 21st century collaborative roles with all the appropriate players. We are all accountable to our children and youth-school and after school educators, students, parents, communities, and businesses.

School and after school educators include preschool, extended day/week/year, and traditional pre K-12 professionals and staff alike. As adults accountable to our children and youth, shouldn’t we be expected to bring forward all of the resources available for the benefit of each child?

Traditional pre K-12 educators have their plates piled high already. Simply adding to that plate over burdens them and diminishes their effectiveness as principals and teachers. Using after school and extended year programming in partnership with traditional pre K-12, each partner focusing on the common goal of greater, enriched, and deeper learning for each child, is the 21st century highway to maximizing time and effort for children and youth across a community. Consider that the children of Florida are awake approximately 6,000 hours annually and that students in traditional pre K-12 programs receive approximately 1,000 hours of instructional learning time annually. This leaves an astounding 5,000 hours or 80% more of the child’s awake time to be used to further enrich and engage each child in high quality, aligned and yet distinct, learning opportunities designed for success.

Student learning and development is no longer the sole province of Pre K-12 schools. New relationships must be initiated among school boards, superintendents, local politicians and experienced principals and after school leaders in order to fully utilize the resources which are available during the 5,000 awake hours when children are not in traditional pre K-12 education settings.

This collaboration is the exciting cornerstone to achieving positive after school outcomes for children and youth and will serve to enhance learning and achievement for all students. It is critical that our network work hard to get this message out to traditional pre-K-12 and after school educators across Florida.

Read the article More Than Just Another “To-Do” on the List: The Benefits of Strong School, Principal, and Afterschool/Community Relationships here.