Think back to your favorite childhood memories. Generationally, it seemed that we had lots of free play. I think we can all recall how exciting it was when a neighborhood family would purchase a new big appliance. That box was gold and as kids we would walk around it, stare and dream about what we could do with it. And then we would make it happen.
That kind of play is beyond imagination, though, because it united us as kids. We put our dream to life, we collaborated, and made things happen. These are the skills that are needed now more than ever. But also, it ties into the idea of how we create fun learning when the school day is so packed.
It was while pondering after school opportunities that I really dug into this question with my colleagues (Dr. Dawn Bridges and Andee Linn) from Right At School about what they do. Because they have had me intrigued, and for a while. I mean, they are doing all of this and essentially making learning fun while meeting a district’s goals for achievement. Why? In part because there just is not enough time in the school day anymore. And also because they creatively found a way to make it happen.
It’s important for me to note a few things at this stage. First, I support causes and people who I believe are doing really innovative things. Second, in doing so, I want you to know about them. Third, they have essentially taken that big refrigerator box and dreamed into being what they think time after school should look like. So, it’s going to require you to retool everything you ever thought about after school activities. Because this is entirely different.
Right At School sought to solve a multitude of problems and to create opportunities for schools. After all, children are only awake 5,000 hours each year and are only in school for 1,000 of those hours. This means that all the things schools must accomplish with students must take place in just 20% of their waking hours. Recall, too, that students lost crucial hours of learning and development throughout the pandemic. I’m sure like most schools, you’ve felt pressure over the last year to find ways to close the learning gap and new methods for improving kids’ learning experience.
Here’s how they work to accelerate the learning for students and boost achievement for schools:
- Customizable, research-backed curriculum. Disguised Learning™ includes fun and engaging activities that allow students to learn and grow without realizing they are learning and growing.
- Increased sense of belonging. Studies show that students who aren’t involved in activities outside of the school day are more likely to become disengaged. Right At School gives students a sense of belonging which inspires a love of learning that carries over into the classroom.
- Voice and choice. Right At School wants districts and students to have a voice in how they spend their time. For example, some districts may desire a greater focus on academics while others just want to have fun and build engagement. And some students may prefer to participate in physical activity while others opt for long-term group projects or spending time at the free art table.
- Sustainable results. Right At School programming has traditionally been paid for by parents. Now, thanks to grants and federal funding, many districts are taking increased ownership by subsidizing the program. Additionally, using your district’s data, they demonstrate how their program leads to increased attendance and improved test scores.
- Imbedded in the district. Like Allerton Hill Communications, Right At School aims to remove the burden from the district. They hire engaging and professional staff (and have the highest retention rate in the industry thanks to their robust professional development), take care of supply shipments, and are the frontline support with parents.
Are you ready to take your own refrigerator box and develop your own after school model? You know who to contact.