After-School Program Credited with Improving Test Scores

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NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. — An after-school program is transforming elementary and middle school students into academic all-stars.

After-School All-Stars is kicking off its 17th year at 13 at-risk schools in the Las Vegas valley.

C.P. Squires Elementary School in North Las Vegas has about 300 of its students participating in the program.

Throughout Clark County School District, After-School All-Stars is giving kids a chance to stay out of trouble, participate in a new activity and improve their grades.

From karate to dance, the after-school program has it all.

“They get excited and they can’t wait for after school to start. That is all I’ve heard this year is, ‘when are we starting after school? when are we starting after school?'” said Amanda Jones, a teacher at Squires Elementary and a leader of After-School All-Stars.

The program is far more than a good time. Before kids can participate in physical activities, they have to hit the books.

With 70 percent of violence happening between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m., Casey Flair with After-School All-Stars says it is a safe alternative to what kids would be doing otherwise.

“The students don’t have anything to do. The students go home. A lot of the students, that we deal with, go home to empty homes. Parents are working,” Flair said.

Instead, 6,000 students in 13 at-risk schools get a meal, an hour of tutoring and some exercise.

Jones says she can see the positive changes.

“There is a big difference in their academics, especially in their reading and math scores. What we do is every year, when the year is over, we take a look at their CRT scores for 3rd, 4th and 5th, and compare participants and non participants,” Jones said.

According to CCSD, participants scored 10 percent higher on their math and reading proficiency exams than those who didn’t attend the program.

“We keep them busy. We keep them engaged. We provide free opportunities for them because everything we do is completely free for them and their parents,” Erika Aguliar with After-School All-Stars said.

Teachers says kids also get a boost in self esteem through a curriculum that is tailored to each school.

The program is run with corporate and community donations and is always in need of help. To donate, go to asaslv.org.