As a society, it is our job to ensure that the future is in good hands.
That means making sure our young people have access to a full range of opportunities throughout their childhood. When young people have opportunities to be positively engaged in their schools and communities, they are more likely to develop into healthy and productive citizens and leaders.
One of the biggest challenges facing Vermont today is the persistence of a significant gap in educational outcomes between low-income students and their higher-income peers. In Vermont, as across the nation, low-income students are less likely than higher income students to enter kindergarten ready to learn, to graduate from high school, and to continue on to and succeed in college.
Voices’ new issue brief Afterschool Programs in Vermont: Supporting Success for All Students builds upon our previous finding that because many out-of-school factors directly influence academic achievement, schools alone cannot address the problem of poverty and inequitable educational outcomes.
Children spend, on average, 1,000 hours a year in school but 5,000 in their communities and with their families.
We know that this time students spend out of school matters. Science tells us that youth who are engaged in constructive pursuits during their free time are more likely to develop initiative, better understand themselves in relation to others, experience optimism toward the future, and develop skills and competencies that promote a successful transition to adulthood.
Afterschool Programs in Vermont: Supporting Success for All Students highlights five Vermont afterschool and summer programs that are improving student outcomes, particularly among low-income students. These quality programs give young people the opportunity to explore new ways of learning, to acquire new skills, and to form positive relationships with adults in their community.
Good afterschool experiences literally help build a foundation that can transform a young person into a productive and engaged member of our community.
When that happens, we all benefit.
To read more about how we can work together to support and replicate quality afterschool and summer programs across Vermont, read Voices’ issue brief on afterschool here.