Oakman after-school program enhancing student experience

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 3/9/17

OAKMAN — The Oakman Middle School Afterschool Academy is proving to be socially and educationally beneficial to children after the first few months of …

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Oakman after-school program enhancing student experience

Posted

OAKMAN — The Oakman Middle School Afterschool Academy is proving to be socially and educationally beneficial to children after the first few months of observation.

The YMCA of Greater Birmingham Afterschool Academies is sponsoring the program at Oakman Middle, which is a partnership between Walker County Schools and the United Way of Central Alabama.

Oakman’s after-school program began in October, and over 50 kindergarten through eighth-grade students participate when school is dismissed each day.

“The program provides homework help, tutoring, as well as support in literature, health and wellness and various STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities,” Tess Kimbrell, YMCA Site Director for Oakman Middle, said.

STEAM is part of academic enrichment, one of nine components of YMCA Afterschool Academies.

Other aspects of the program include college and career exploration, 21st century skills, service learning, arts education, leadership development, health and wellness, global learning and parent and family engagement.

Students enrolled at the Oakman academy are provided with dinner, and a limited bus route is available to help students get home.

Program tuition is $25 a week per child. The fee is reduced to $10 a week for free lunch recipients and to $15 a week for students who receive reduced lunch. Scholarship applications to attend the academy are available.

YMCA of Greater Birmingham Executive Director Rhonda Elmore said she has heard many students are having positive outcomes from attending the academy.

“We have reports from teachers that students in the program have shown an increase in positive attitude towards school since being in the program,” Elmore said. “We will have more data on outcomes after the school year.”

Kimbrell said they are at 50 percent capacity at the Oakman academy, and parents can still enroll their children in the program. Ninety-six Oakman students will also have the opportunity to enroll in their summer academy.

“The after-school program has benefited our students by allowing them to learn in an unique way while having fun. We work closely with our students’ teachers in order to help students who may be struggling to master their goal,” Kimbrell said.

“On average, our students have improved their grades as well as their performance and participation in the classroom.”