California Department of Education
Taking Center Stage – Act II
The “Out-of-School Time Evaluation Snapshots” summarize evaluations of after school programs “within each of four outcome domains: academics, family, prevention, and youth development.” The evaluations used rigorous methods to demonstrate that after-school programs can produce benefits for participants. However, the findings are inconclusive. For example, the family and prevention programs had little impact, while the academics and youth development programs showed a mixture of some positive results mixed with other less positive ones. In addition, the Gevirtz Homework Project (GHP), a 45-minute, after-school “homework club,” saw no effects on academic outcomes.1 For more on before- and after-school programs, refer to the section in Recommendation 2—Instruction, Assessment, and Intervention.
Philip Magruder Middle School, Torrance Unified School District, is one of the 2009 California Distinguished Schools
Magruder Middle School is featured on the California Department of Education's (CDE) Closing the Achievement Gap Web site for its “Signature” Practice, the Seize the Day Program. This exemplary practice addresses several of the CDE’s 12 Recommendations for Middle Grades Success including time, transitions, and access.
The Seize the Day Program was developed in 2005 to combat disciplinary issues, low attendance rates, a lack of student involvement, and a significant achievement gap within its subgroups of students. The school wide program extends learning resources and opportunities beyond the limitations of a traditional bell schedule and school year by offering additional programs before school, after school, and during lunch time. The school is committed to make use of every minute that students are on campus. It is a comprehensive approach involving students, staff, community partners, and parents that focuses on students’ social, emotional, and physical well-being.
A primary goal of the Seize the Day Program is to create a welcoming, comfortable, engaging, and effective learning environment beyond the traditional school day for all students. A network of on-campus clubs, activities, and facilities, and a series of student-led programs ease transition into and out of middle school and increase resources to help students attain academic goals.
As sixth grade students enter Magruder, they are invited to participate in “Operation Back to School” (OBS), a week long summer program offering social, academic, and emotional support as well as free school supplies to give them a head start on the school year. OBS commences before the school year starts and Magruder teachers come to campus during their own summer vacations to jump-start the acclimation process and teach students about rotating schedules (through a modified four-period schedule), time management, involvement opportunities, and new academic expectations.
The results of expanding the school experience beyond traditional time boundaries have been rewarding. Attendance rates and physical fitness levels at Magruder have increased. The suspension rate has dropped. Participation in extracurricular clubs and activities and attendance at parent nights has increased. Over the course of three years, faculty and students created more than 30 diverse clubs ranging from English-language development support and basketball to GEOBee and Garden Gurus. In 2008-09, more than 70 percent of students across all grade levels were involved in “Seize the Day” programs.
Philip Magruder Middle is one of the schools featured on the CDE's Closing the Achievement Gap Web site. The site contains helpful information, research, and success stories including "Signature” Practices from some of California’s Distinguished Schools.
Time for accelerated academic interventions
Time for counseling and mental health
1Out-of-School Time Evaluation Snapshot: Learning from Small-Scale Experimental Evaluations of After School Programs (PDF; Outside Source), Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Family Research Project, May 2006.
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California Department of Education
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Sacramento, CA 95814