Benton County Before and After School Program Grants

The Educational Service District 123 (ESD 123) was awarded a five year grant from The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Finley School district’s Before and After School program. The ESD 123’s 21st Century Program Director, Margarita Alaman says the curriculum focuses on creating partnership and providing a positive environment for students to grow, with activities ranging from hands-on robotics science projects, coding and drones to art shows presented at The Reach Museum.

Not only are fun activities supported by the grant, but emotional work assists students in becoming better citizens in the community by visiting  nursing homes and other facilities; students will experience those in need. Money has also been allotted for tutoring programs in reading in order to motivate students for the school day, and extra help will be provided to complete homework assignments after school for Kindergarteners through eighth grade. Program Director Alaman  states, “Sometimes all a student needs to correct behavior problems is to connect as a kinesthetic learner.”

In addition to all the benefits, Program Director Alaman says the parents are elated that there’s a positive, safe environment for their children to go,when they are work. Funded by the state through Cohorts, Alaman is excited that Benton County Health District is partnering with them for this grant, to provide a lot of resources and advocacy for both the students and parents.  In addition, she hires local high school and college age students as mentors; for some, this is their first job.

“The kids get to express themselves and we find out more about them because teachers are sometimes stressed with doing activities mandated by the state so they don’t have time. Students also learn social interaction skills such as how to work in a group; everyone has their own role and without part A, Part B can’t even begin.   For them to understand that is a huge progress.”