Education feature: After-school program provides academics, activities

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Clovis Municipal Schools system’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers after-school program resumes Monday.

The program, funded by a federal grant, serves students at five elementary schools who require additional academic assistance.

Craig Terry, 21st CCLC program coordinator for the school district, said the program had 682 participants last year. He is expecting about the same number in the program’s fifth year.

“It is a good program. We’ve done a pretty good job. I think it’s a good mix of academics, physical activity and music,” Terry said.

The program charts the growth of the students, as well as making sure the students are interested in being there.

“We encourage the teachers to be creative,” Terry said. “It’s hard to have students in the classroom for two extra hours and to be willing (to learn).”

One of the program’s teachers, Christy Van Hoose, taught folklorico dance at La Casita Elementary School before the after-school program began. When she became a teacher for the after-school program, she made the dance class part of the program.

“It’s part of the enrichment goals of the program. It helps self-confidence and works as a checks and balances system,” Van Hoose said. The students in her dance class must maintain good grades to be able to participate.

Terry said the teachers in the after-school program focus on reinforcing what their peers do during regular school hours.

Terry said besides providing academic help for the students, the program also helps parents.

“A lot of working parents appreciate that their kids have a safe place to go where they can be enriched as well as get academic help,” Terry said.