These days, more kids are in after-school programs than not. In 2014, The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported a record 69% of children in two-parent households were participating in some sort of supervised situation after school. Not surprisingly, more than 70% of single-parent households required after-school supervision for their children. That’s a lot of kids needing somewhere to be after school.
The YMCA organization offers after-school programs in a good number of school districts around the U.S., along with week-long “camps” for those who need supervision during school vacations when parents need to work. These programs do indeed seem to work well. Children are professionally cared for while mom(s) and/or dad(s) work and kids get to enjoy crafts, games, activities and help with homework. What more could you ask for?
Should After School Programs Need More Information About Your Child?
Chances are, you’re not thinking about what an after-school program could glean from knowing about your child’s school day. But imagine this: A wild-eyed 2nd grader whirling into the after-school program, distraught over a disagreement with a peer earlier in the day. How do you think that could impact peer interactions and the counselor’s ability to run a smooth program if they are not informed, as they are often not?
More could be done for our after-school programs as a continuum to what the regular school day looks like if they are informed of any trouble that could brew in the afternoon to evening hours. Social-Emotional Learning and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports in schools only go so far if it is not carried over into the after-school program. School Administrators may not see it as another part of the school day but their students do, especially if their after-school program is in the cafeteria or gymnasium of the school they attend every day.
Homework is another issue that could be better handled if the counselors at the after-school program had a clue as to what might need extra help or how to better explain a difficult math problem to a child with a nuanced learning difference. How much does the average after-school program not know about a student that would have enhanced the experience for both the student and the counselor?
The information door also swings both ways. What could be said about a child on a given day at the after-school program that the school and the parents should have known about?
- Altercations with peers
- Issues with a student not grasping a homework concept
- Information shared by the student that should be passed along
- Things counselors have noticed about the child lately
How Could After School Programs Properly Share Information?
Even when after-school programs share information about a child, it is usually in written form or in an email to just the parent. Neither one of those is typically passed on to the teacher for review. Any information that should be passed on to a school official is second hand from either the child or the parent. What if schools had first hand, recorded information at their fingertips for their students who attend after-school programs?
Students who need more assistance with homework in after-school programs or who have behavioral plans in place would likely do a lot better if after-school programs and the special education team were able to collaborate on how to best help those students who need extra attention.
Another thing to consider when sharing student information via email is that it is neither HIPAA nor FERPA compliant. Student data privacy is of the utmost importance to parents and school districts, however, a glaring amount of after-school programs and even school district employees fail to realize this.
eCare Vault is the solution to the after-school program to school district collaboration and solves the issue of HIPAA and FERPA compliance with sharing student information. How can you both improve the student learning experience after school and feel confident that student data is kept private? eCare Vault.