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after-school programs

When Superintendent Jacqueline M. Horejs arrived at Union School District in San Jose, Calif. in 2006, district enrollment was on a downward spiral.

Students from District of Columbia Public Schools learn photography skills to draw attention to changes needed in their community.
Students take photos that are shared with the public through travelling exhibits in galleries, libraries and other public spaces.
“My name is Daniel. I am limited by only what I cannot imagine. I believe that social change and community organizing is important because this kind of change lifts up the voices of the suppressed and helps the powerless be heard. To lift the cover of discrimination, we can come one step closer to making our world a better place. I took photographs that show where and how I live.” —Daniel J., Critical Exposure Youth Internship
“The American flag symbolizes the rights we are granted as citizens and the freedom we have to manifest ideas and expand our knowledge. The bars represent restriction and confinment. Two conflicting ideas. We should not feel like our school system is detaining us and preventing us from flourishing.” —Anaïse, Banneker High School
“We have been talking about healthy foods that we like and foods that we don’t like. We want to talk to people and have meetings to change the lunch policy.”  —Brittanie, Ballou Senior High School

Critical Exposure is a nonprofit after-school program that trains District of Columbia Public Schools students to use photography and advocacy to make real changes in their schools and community.

High school students gain skills in documentary, photography, leadership and advocacy as they critically examine their schools and communities, and document issues that affect their lives. The photos are shared with the public through travelling exhibits in galleries and libraries. They are also shown to public officials as a means of advocating for policy changes in the community.

High-quality before- and after-school programs have the potential to enhance student engagement and improve academic achievement, by extending the school day in a fun, safe and relaxed environment. However, there are important factors to consider in selecting programs for a district, as well as determining the quality and effectiveness of existing before- and after-school programs.