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MyjournalonmyafterschoolfieldworkexperienceatGlennMartinElementary

JournalEntry#3Topic:HookingkidsonAcademicsAfterSchool
Althoughsometimesstudentshavelittletonochoiceofwhethertheyhavetostayat
anafterschoolprogram,THINKtogetheratGlennMartinElementaryisacreativecommunity
whereallstudentsenjoytheirstay.MartinElementaryisintheheartofSantaAna,thesecond
largestcityinOrangeCounty,CA,withover334,000people.Someneighborhoodsmaybe
nicerthanothersbutforaschoolwithhighgates,barsonwindows,andinacrowdedand
crampedneighborhood,itisbettertostayinsidethantowalkhomealone.Thatbeingsaid,
THINKtogetherisnotachildcareprogramandtheProgramLeadersarenotbabysitters.
THINKisappealingbecauseoftheuniqueinteractionsthatthestudentshavewiththeir
programleadersthatleadsthemtoasuccessfulfuture.
IfIwereastudentatMartin,IwouldwanttocontinueparticipatinginTHINKbecauseI
wouldreceiveplentyofhomeworkhelp,achancetoseesomeofthenewestmovies,earn
andredeemmyTHINKbucks,andofcourse,bewithmyfriends.Researchforafterschool
programmostalwaysfocusesontestresultsanddatacollectiontodeterminethevalidityofa
program.Surveysandtestsarenecessarytomaintainhighqualityandefficientprogramming
butcanalsobemisleadingwhenitcomestoactualstudentenjoyment.ReadingsonASP
researcharewellevidencedanddocumentedandwhiletherearepracticesthatmaybebetter
forstudents,theymaynottakeintoaccountwhatthechildrenwant,norhowtoimplement
thosepracticesinanengagingorefficientmanner.
OnephrasethatIvereadorheardmanytimesinthiscourseischildrenneedtobe
learningbuttheyneedtobehavingsomuchfunthattheydontrealizetheyarelearning.
Thismayseemeasiersaidthandone,howeveritispossiblethatASPshaveafootholdin
changingstudentsviewsinwhatcountsasschoolwhichisdeemedboringordifficult,and
whatcountsasfunwhichmayormaynotincludelearningorapplicationofskills.For
example,homeworktimecanbeusefulandsometimeshelpfulbutitrequiresmotivationon
thestudentspart.Somefinditcompletelysatisfyingtomerelysitandplaywiththeirpapers
regardlessofhowsatisfactorytheirgradeswillbeontheirtests.Whileothersturnhomework
intoagameandraceeachothertothefinishlineoftheirpracticeproblems.Anotherexample
ofenjoyablestudentactivitiesismoviedaywhereProgramLeadersshowsomeofthenewest
releases.Somemayarguethatparticipantsarenotlearningorapplyingthemselveswhich
wouldbetrueinatraditionalsetting,butwiththeiramusementcomestheopportunityto
experiencemediainagroupsettingwiththeirfriends,tobeuptodatewithtvtheywould
otherwisenotbeabletoviewathome,andestablishasenseofnormalcyintermsofwhat
childrendoordontdo.Asidefromwhatworksandwhatdoesntwhenitcomestoimproving
skillsortestscores,MartinElementaryhasmanyoutletsfordifferentstudentinterestsand
thoughsomemaycomewithfruitfulexperienceandapplication,othersarecomplimentaryto
thesafeandwelcomingenvironmentTHINKtogetherhasestablishedattheschool.

JournalEntry#5ProgramDirectorsStrengths
Theprogramdirector/sitecoordinatorforTHINKtogetheratMartinElementaryisMrs.
PattyJaimes.Someofthemostimportantskillsandqualitiesthatarenecessarytoherwork
includetheabilitytoarticulatewithintheorganizationandtoexternalstakeholdersthe
programsmissionandgoals,andhowprogramactivitiesaligntothem.Asitecoordinator
mustdemonstrateawarenessofprogrammissionandgoals.Theymustalsocommunicate
programgoalsandmissionandciteexamplesofhowprogramactivitiesaligntothemformally
andinformallywithparents,teachersandotherstakeholders.Anothernecessaryskillisthe
abilitytodesignprogramactivitiesthatsupportprogramgoalsandincorporateneeds
andinterestsofprogramparticipants,theirfamiliesandthebroadercommunity.Theyshould
articulatethelinkbetweenspecificactivitiesandprogramgoalsandhaveaclearscopeand
sequenceofactivitiesthatwillcontributetotheachievementofprogramgoals.Itisalso
importanttoregularlygatherinformationandfeedbackfromprogramparticipantsandstaffto
determinetheirneedsandinterests.Athirdkeycompetencyistheabilitytosuccessfully
manageprogramstaff.Clearcommunication,bothverballyandinwriting,isnecessaryto
conveythejobexpectationsforstaffandhowtheyarelinkedtotheprogramsgoals.They
shouldalsocreateapositiveenvironmentinwhichtheprofessionaldevelopmentofstaffis
supported,staffisacknowledgedforsuccesses,andfeedbackispositivelydeliveredand
received.Finally,theyshouldhavetheabilitytoengage,andsupportafterschool
educatorsinimplementingprogramactivitiestoachieveprogramgoals.Competentleaders
providestaffwithneededmaterials,suppliesandpreparationtimeandleadsregularstaff
meetingstoreviewprogramprogress,needsandissues.
Mrs.Jaimesisawonderfulcoordinatorandeasytoworkwith.Someofthequalities
shepossessarepreparedness,experience,understanding,andpatience.Evidenceofher
preparednessisseeninherschedulemaking,sometimesweeksinadvance,andthemonthly
calendarpostedinherofficeisalwaysuptodate.Sheisalsoorganizedandallhersupplies
arelabeledandputawayintocabinetsthatareseparatedbygradeleveloractivity.Mrs.
Jaimesisalsoskillfulwhenitcomestopeople.SheisbilingualinEnglishandSpanish,avery
importantqualityespeciallynecessaryintheheartofSantaAnawheremanyresidentsare
mainlyfluentintheSpanishlanguage.Sheisalsoskilledandfluentintechnologywhichshe
incorporatestheuseofwhenevershecan,andhercapabilityforhandlingmanyitemsatonce
setherapartastrongleader.Herexperienceinthefieldofeducationmakeshera
praiseworthycandidateforthejobsincemanyprogramleadershavelittleexperience
teaching,andorlackhighereducationcredentials.Sheispatient,kind,andunderstanding
alwayslisteningtotheconcernsofparentsandstudents,andneverquicktojudgeorbe
angered.HeramiabledemeanorhelpsfacilitatehealthyrelationshipswithherProgram
leaders,staff,andtheschooldaystafftoo,aswellastheadministration.Sheisalways
availableforfeedbackandadviceandleadsstaffmeetingsinordertodiscusspressingissues
concerningstudentsand/oractivities.Finallysheisconfidentinhergoalsandreallybelieves
inmakingadifferenceinthecommunityandingivingstudentstheirbestchance.


JournalEntry#7TheImpactofEnvironmentonQualityofProgram

GlennMartinElementaryislocatedintheheartofSantaAna,atremendously
populatedareawhereinhabitantsareoflowsocioeconomicstatusandwherefacilitiesarenot
alwaysuptoparwithsomeofthenationsrichercities.TheenvironmentwithintheTHINK
togetherprogramisonethatpromotesthesuccessandwellbeingofitsstudents,while
workingamiablywiththeadministrationandstaffinsharingfacilities.Howeverwhenitcomes
toevaluatingthephysicalenvironmentchildrenarein,itsdeficienciesmaycertainlyimpact
thequalityofeducation.Theempiricalresearchthatexistsontheimpactsofenvironmenton
teachingandlearningshowsthatextremesofenvironmentalelements(forexample,poorair
qualityorexcessivenoise)havenegativeeffectsonstudentsandteachers.The
neighborhoodisembeddedwithtrafficnoiseandpollution,alsomostofthebuildingsand
structuressufferfromsomesortofdamage.Manyoftheserepairshavebeensetasidedueto
lackoffundsandinvestmentinotherdepartmentsattheschool.
AlthoughSantaAnaisrichwithhistoryandlacedwithmanyoutdooropportunitiesand
fieldtriplocations,lackoffundingaswellastraditionalculturalideasabouteducation,inhibit
thefulluseofthoseresourcesanddeterteachersandadministrationfromconsideringthem
educationaldestinations.Parentsthatwouldendorsethefieldtripsandactivitiescannotafford
tosponsorthemandmanyeventsendupbeingcanceledbecauseofthis.Thesurrounding
neighborhoodalsoseriouslyimpactstheprogramanddoesnotallowformanycommunity
serviceopportunitiesforparticipantssinceitismuchsafertoremainwithintheschool
grounds.Ofcoursethereareotherwaysforstudentstoshowtheircommitmenttotheir
communitysuchaswritingcardsforseniors,orcollectingdonationsforshelters,activitiesthat
couldthenbeprocessedandexecutedbyastaffleader.
Itisalsowellworthdiscussingtheinternalenvironmentthatstudentsfindthemselves
inaftertheirnormalschoolday.Aqualityandeffectiveprogramgivesopportunityforthe
followingprocesses:
1. Choiceandautonomyinactivities
2. Increasedselfworthandmoraleforstudentsbasedontheinvestmentoftimeand
attentionintheirideasandneed
3. Mixofinteresting,funactivitieswithrelaxationtime
4. opportunitiesforleadership
Theseitemsforengagementarealsodependentonaprocessofrenewal.Afterschools
programshaveahighturnoverrate,especiallywiththeirstaffsowhenstaffandstudents
moveon,itisnecessarytoengagenewcohortsinimprovingtheenvironmentinorderto
continuetoreapthebenefits.Studentscanstillbeengagedinlearningandfeelsupportedin
theirafterschoolprogramwithoutventuringoutbeyondtheschoolcampus.Whilefieldtrips
andothercommunityactivitiescertainlyenrichtheprogram,studentssafetyshouldbethe
firstconcern.Alsobudgetrestraintsmakeitnecessarytoworkwithresourcesavailableandto
makethebestoftheminordertohelpstudentssucceed.