Fairfield Community School District’s 21st Century Community Learning Center program began its fourth year of operation at Pence Elementary School on September 7, 2021 and provided before and after school programming until May 13, 2022. Pence Elementary houses all district 2nd-4th graders. The program provides options for any Pence student through two components: (1) a before-school book club program, 7:30-8:15 every day; (2) an after-school program 3:30-5:30 p.m. every day, as well as 1:30-5:30 on five early release dates during February, March, April and May. The after-school program’s daily structured activities include a snack, physical exercise, homework completion/tutoring time, and academic enrichment activities.
Registration was required. Due to staff shortages, beginning in January 2022 numbers were limited to 20 students per grade level.
The needs assessment process was completed by a committee of community stakeholders and district administrators. The committee considered student attendance at school, CCP attendance, student achievement/grades, disciplinary referrals and the results from parent surveys conducted by the CCP Director over the past three years. A market survey completed by the Fairfield Economic Development Association established a need for high-quality childcare options, including before and after school. This continues to be a high priority need cited by the Fairfield business community.
Data collected on family needs in the community was combined with annual academic analysis to establish prioritized program needs to serve as program objectives: (1) 50% of regular attending CCP students will achieve grade level reading proficiency or surpass 1 year’s growth on ISASP and FAST; (2) 50% of regular attending CCP students will achieve grade level math proficiency or surpass 1 year’s growth on ISASP and FAST; (3) 50% of regular attending CCP students will attain school attendance of 90% or higher; (4) 50% of students enrolled in CCP will attend regularly; (5) decrease Pence grade 2-4 disciplinary referrals. These are revised local objectives, approved by IDOE.
The goals were reviewed regularly during CCP Advisory Board meetings held quarterly with meetings in August 2021, December 2021, January 2022, and March 2022. The Advisory Board membership includes representatives from banking, industry, public health, community park and recreation services, and court services. There are ten members, including a Pence teacher, the Pence Principal, and a member of the FCSD Board of Directors.
Program successes this year included a high level of demand and student enrollment, a high level of parent participation in family nights, and impressive improvements in students’ reading, math, and teacher-reported student engagement in learning. All local objectives that could be measured were met this year. The Bike Rodeo was a highlight of the year, demonstrating enthusiasm by students and parents as well as community collaboration—as this would not have been such as success without the contributions of many partners.
The program director’s relationships in the community and commitment to CCP, guidance from the advisory board, a consistent group of community partners and volunteers, and support from the Fairfield Community School District, all contribute to the program’s success.
Katie Boatright - FCSD After School Program Director
Bike Rodeo 2021
The Community and Character program collaborated Jefferson County 4H, The Ride bike shop, the Iowa Bike Coalition, the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Fairfield Police Department to train students in bike safety on May 5th and May 12th.
Students were fitted for helmets, their bikes were inspected, and they rode an outdoor course to practice all the skills they learned. Students were issued a certificate of completion from police officers after finishing their work.
Fairfield Community School District’s 21st Century Community Learning Center began its second year of operation at Pence Elementary School on August 23, 2019, and remained open through March 13, 2020 when owing to the COVID-19 19 epidemic and the Governor’s directive, the District closed all K-12 buildings for the remainder of the school year. Pence Elementary houses all district 2nd – 4th graders. The CCLC Program provides options for any Pence student through five components: (1) a before-school program, 7:30 – 8:20 AM, M-F; (2) an after-school program, 3:30 – 5:30 PM, M – F; (3) club activities held 2 – 3 times per week; (4) Saturday sessions, 9 – Noon, one Saturday per month; (5) attendance at No School Days programming offered when the regular K-12 staff is engaged in professional development and school is closed to students. The after-school program daily structured activities include a snack, physical exercise, and homework completion/tutoring time, followed by club activities for students who opt to join. For those students who choose not to join a club, crafts, games and STEM activities are provided after homework/tutoring time.
“The FCSD has professional development for staff, once a month. On these days there is no school for students. Knowing that childcare is a challenge for many families, we decided to take advantage of these No School Days to offer field trips! We had three local field trips including a manufacturer’s tour where we visited local factories as well as a visit to the Carnegie Museum and local community theater. We were also able to utilize the county conservation center and retired local naturalist to explore nature at Jefferson County Park. This was by far a favorite of the students as we got to go creek stomping all afternoon! We had two out of town field trips scheduled, including a day at the Ottumwa YMCA for swimming and a visit to the Children’s Museum in Coralville The April trip to the Children’s Museum did not take place because owing to Covid-19 closure, we were not in school at that time.
Another addition to out of school time programming for the 2019-20 school year was the creation of Clubs as part of after-school programming. We had community volunteers lead a variety of clubs that would meet once a week for 5-6 weeks at a time. Club topics included: photography, baking Spanish, NASA, yoga and book club. These clubs were a great time for students to learn new skills. Baking Club was the biggest hit with around 60 students regularly attending!”
--Katie Boatright, FCSD Character and Community Program Director
No registration is required except for participation in the clubs. There is no attendance requirement with the exception that students must attend the after-school program at least 3 days per week in order to attend No School Days.
Three parent meetings, or literacy events, that included students, were held during the year for after-school program participants and their parents. On November 14, 2019 parents and their children participated in an event with a Superheroes theme. They heard from local firefighters, police, and medical personnel, who also served as celebrity readers. Parents and students together made a comic book and superhero masks.
The theme for the March 12, 2020 literacy event was Family Dream Night: Futures So Bright. Students brainstormed a list of careers of interest and with the help of their parents made a picture book showing themselves at different points in the future. Fourth graders shared a book, published by their teacher. from celebrity readers, and made sunglasses as protection for their bright futures!
Description of Program
The initial year of Character and Community programming, beginning in October, 2018 and continuing through April 2019, was successful in terms of attendance, activities, inclusion, accessibility, and community outreach. A safe, fun and educational environment is a program priority. It provides activities for any Pence student through a before-school program, 7:30 AM – 8:20 AM, M-F and an after-school program, 3:30PM – 5:30 PM, M-F during weeks (or days) when school is in session. In addition, further enrichment/field-trip programming is offered from 9:00 AM – Noon, 10 Saturdays during the school year. Children may be added to the program at any point during the year. Parents registered 101 children in Fall, 2018; 61 of those students attended 30 or more days. Fifteen students attended from 91 – 116 days!
Activities included partner reading, ST Math, McGraw-Hill Everyday Math games, Project Lead the Way Launch and additional STEM activities, silent reading practice, craft activities, Really Great Reading Activities, guest speakers (partners and/or district teachers), activities planned and staffed by middle school and high school teams and clubs. A nutritious snack is offered daily and 15 – 30 minutes of physical activity is planned for each day as well.
The Character & Community Program provided local field trips and service projects on Saturday mornings twice a month/10 times a year during the 2018-1019 school year. The Program Director partnered with local business and community agencies to provide fun, educational opportunities for students. Field trips included Jefferson County Park, Fairfield Arts and Convention Center, Fairfield Park and Recreation Center, Jefferson County Health Center, as well as a service project with First United Methodist Women to make and donate pies for the FHS music program’s fundraiser.
Impact of Program
The Program had a moderate impact on achievement in reading and math. Twenty regular CCP program students scored at the High-Risk level on the Formative Assessment System for Teachers and were categorized as not proficient in reading at their grade levels in fall, 2018. In spring 2019 testing, 5 of these students improved the Some-Risk or Low-Risk levels and were categorized as proficient in reading at their grade levels. Fifteen students remained at the High-Risk or not proficient level.
The program also had a moderate impact on achievement in math. The FCSD uses standards-based grading for elementary students. If students are categorized as needing improvement in a subject area, they have not achieved 80% cumulative proficiency on the standards for their grade level. This was the data collecting instrument for mathematics and English for the 2018-2019 school year for the purposes of this evaluation.
The number of all regular CCP attendees needing improvement in mathematics for the fall, 2018 grading period, was 12; the number who improved for the spring, 2019 grading period was 3, or 25%. The number of all regular attendees needing improvement in fall in English fall, 2018, was 9; the number who improved was 3, or 33%.
The CCP program had a more significant impact on student behavior. The number of regular attendees needing improvement in (1) classroom behavior and (2) homework completion and class participation was determined through a classroom teacher survey. The number of students needing improvement in classroom behavior was 23; teachers reported that 17, or 74% improved from fall to spring. The number needing improvement in homework completion and class participation was also 20; teachers reported that 20, or 87% improved from fall to spring.
Changes to the Program
Changes planned for 2019-2020 include offering clubs for the student to attend during the before and after school program times. They include Clubs for Reading, Baking, Science (NASA), Photography and more. Saturday field trips are being planned. The Program will also be open and offer enrichment programming on the 5 no-school or professional development days.
For information about the program, call Chuck Benge at the District Office (641-472-2655) or Angela Jones or Katie Boatright at Pence Elementary (641-472-2957).