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after-school programs

Districts across the country are finding ways to turn after-school programs into learning experiences that motivate students and close equity gaps. YMCAs, churches and other community groups, and private companies have emerged as go-to providers of 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.

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.