The College of Charleston has established a new center that is designed to improve afterschool and summer programs in South Carolina.
The Afterschool and Summer Learning Resource Center will provide professional development, program evaluation, and other resources to expanded learning program providers. Expanded learning programs serve children primarily during afterschool and summer times. The Resource Center will be will be operated by the College of Charleston School of Education, Health, and Human Performance (EHHP).
This is the first center of its kind in the state to be housed at an institution of higher learning where it can leverage the expertise of its faculty and research partners.
“We are fortunate to have strong talent among our faculty and staff to launch this Center,” says Fran Welch, dean of EHHP. “We know that expanded learning time for low resourced students is one significant factor in reducing the achievement gap, and we are committed to improving and increasing meaningful p-12 expanded learning opportunities.”
The Center will be guided by Terry Peterson, senior fellow at the College of Charleston. Peterson has been named one of the 25 most influential people in the afterschool community by the National AfterSchool Association (NAA). Day-to-day operations will be directed by Hall West, an experienced educational researcher.
According to a 2014 study, 10.2 million children participate in an afterschool program, an increase from about 2 million in 2009. Nearly 1 in 4 families currently has a child enrolled in an afterschool program. “Many more parents want access to quality afterschool and summer opportunities in South Carolina than are currently available and many more principals want to offer such opportunities. So providing assistance is a high need,” says Peterson.
“The amount of time youth spend in afterschool settings, typically 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., is simply astonishing,” says Courtney A. Howard, director of the Center for Partnerships to Improve Education and the interim assistant dean for Partnerships and Outreach for EHHP. “In a single school year, the total time spent approaches 540 hours or the equivalent of 77 school days. Add to that the summer months, and it’s clear that we have a significant opportunity to impact children both academically and socially by enhancing afterschool and summer program providers.”