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After-school programming improves at-risk children’s achievement, behavior, attendance

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21 CCLC) programs in Iowa are contributing to the lives of at-risk children by helping them improve attendance and behavior, and make gains in reading and mathematics.

Data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Annual Performance Report shows that in Iowa, 66 percent of the students who participate in the program have improved in reading and 75 percent have improved in mathematics.

The number of students served in after-school programs funded by the 21 CCLC program has increased. In 2011, 6,203 children were served in 51 sites statewide. In 2017, 14,679 children were served in 103 sites.

According to Vic Jaras, program consultant at the Iowa Department of Education, there’s a correlations between after-school programs and improved student behavior.

“Without exception, in every school that I visit and talk with the principal, he or she reports that when an after-school program starts in their building, attendance goes up and referrals to the office for misbehavior go down dramatically,” he said.

Data from the Sioux City and the Council Bluffs police departments indicates that both cities have experienced dramatic reductions in juvenile arrests between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m., which may be at least in part due to the successful implementation of 21st CCLC programs.

The Sioux City police report the percentage of juvenile arrests between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m. have consistently declined during the three years of grant implementation: down 24 percent in the first year, down 33 percent in the second, and down 37 percent the third.

The Council Bluffs Police Department reported a 50 percent reduction in the number of juvenile arrests between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m. – from 262 arrests in 2014 to 128 arrests in 2017.

Some of the success is credited to Iowans’ sense of community.

“Iowans really value their schools and communities,” Jaras said. “A requirement of this program is schools and communities working together. 21 CCLC programs tap into this resource, requiring that the after-school program seeks the support of business and community resources.”

For more information, contact Jaras, 21st Century Community Learning Centers consultant, at or 515-402-2729.

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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on January 21, 2022 at 7:48am.