The 20-page report can be downloaded at www.unitedwaytarrant.org/arlingtonreport.
The report focused on the number of Arlington ISD students (mainly elementary students) served on- and off-campus by community nonprofit child care providers. Data for the report was provided by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington, City of Arlington Parks and Recreation Department, Girls Incorporated of Tarrant County, the Salvation Army and the Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA. Among the findings:
- Students in Arlington ISD on-campus programs increased by 2.6% last year (2014-15), while the number of students in off-campus programs decreased by 6% last year.
- A longer view shows a trend in the opposite direction. Five years ago, the number of students in on-campus programs was about equal to that of students in off-campus programs. Now there are fewer than half as many in on-campus programs compared to off-campus.
- There are 8 elementary schools without a program.
- Summer off-campus programs saw a 10% increase in the number of students last summer.
- Walkability for students to reach off-site programs and their homes is hazardous in some places due to distance and condition of sidewalks, or lack of sidewalks.
- Providers actively seek transportation solutions for students traveling from schools to off-site programs. Additional transportation options could increase the number of students served.
The Out of School Time Report was showcased at the April 13 Report to the Community Luncheon held by United Way-Arlington at Cacharel Restaurant. United Way-Arlington has been a coordinating and facilitating partner for Arlington after-school programs for more than 25 years. OST programs encompass a wide range of programs for school-age children that take place before school, after school, on weekends, and during the summer and other school breaks. OST programs promote engaged learning and positive youth development; support working families and safe communities; and strengthen the workforce of today and tomorrow.
Keynote speaker at the United Way-Arlington luncheon was Alison Reis-Khanna (shown at left), Executive Director of the Texas Partnership for Out of School Time. TXPOST is a statewide network of nonprofit, public and private sector partners dedicated to increasing the quality and availability of OST opportunities for Texas youth.
Alison said multiple studies have documented that high quality programs help significantly improve students’ school attendance, behavior and core subject scores. It’s important that various segments of a community work together to support OST programs, she said, because coordination increases accountability, helps change public policy and foster sustainable funding, and builds connections to the workforce and to other community services.
Dr. Barbara Odom-Wesley, Vice Chair of the United Way-Arlington Steering Committee, challenged the luncheon audience to join United Way in further examining where the OST programs, opportunities and gaps are in Arlington and how to enhance OST quality and collaboration. “We all have a stake in supporting out of school programs,” she said. “There’s enough work for every agency and every organization to get involved.”