Community Partners Urged to Support Afterschool Program

An Appeal from Superintendent Maria Geryk:

I am excited to announce the restructured Amherst Afterschool Programin collaborative partnership with the Amherst Public Schools, Town ofAmherst and two non-profit organizations: Capacidad and Marks MeadowAfterschool. This program is designed to meet the needs of allelementary students to ensure equity and accessibility. As you may know,research provides evidence that youth who spend more time inafterschool programs may derive greater academic benefits than youth whospend less time. Perhaps most importantly, evidence shows thatacademically at risk youth may benefit more from participation inafterschool programs than their higher achieving peers.

Launched last week at Crocker Farm, Fort River and WildwoodElementary Schools, the Amherst Afterschool Program is poised to servemore children with integrated academic intervention and enrichmentopportunities throughout the school year. Activities include visual andperforming arts, instrumental lessons, cultural and language activities,outdoor recreation and field trips, health and wellness programs andacademic support through the Five Colleges partnership. The AmherstAfterschool Program offers quality after-school child care withexperienced directors and staff and is licensed by EEC and accredited bythe Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services. Allstaff receive comprehensive child care training and are certified in RedCross First Aid and CPR.

As the demographics of our community changes, the number ofincome-eligible students increases dramatically. This year, 40% ofstudents in our schools qualify for free and reduced services. Whilethis number is staggering, I am committed to providing a qualityeducation for all students. Although free subsidy discounts are providedto those who qualify, there are currently 75 students unable to attendthe Amherst Afterschool Program due to cost-prohibitive conditions. Weare actively seeking additional funding and grants but there is animmediate and urgent need to provide tuition for these students.

I highly encourage you to consider sponsoring a child in the AmherstAfterschool Program and providing the $2,500 yearly tuition. Checks canbe made payable to Amherst Afterschool Program and sent directlyto Jim Regan, Out-of-School Time Coordinator, Office of theSuperintendent, 170 Chestnut St. Amherst, MA 01002.

Thank you for your support in this dynamic educationalendeavor. Please know your kindness and generosity will enable a studentto participate in the Amherst Afterschool Program and this experiencewill make a tremendous difference in that child’s life.

Sincerely,

 Maria GerykSuperintendent of SchoolsLast updated September 20, 2012