Students participating in District elementary after school programs receive a minimum of two to three hours of academic enrichment per week. In order to bridge the learning day through the after school hours, the Department of Afterschool Programming provides several enrichment initiatives to the District’s 96 elementary afterschool programs. These initiatives include Explore Literacy, Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) and Give ‘em a Boost.
In addition to Department enrichment offerings, many programs provide enhancements through partners and other organizations. Some of these include Prime Time PBC, YMCA, Center for Creative Education, and Resource Depot. For a complete list of partners visit www.palmbeachschools.org/afterschoolprogramming/Partnerships.asp
The Give ‘em a Boost initiative is a personal enrichment and healthy living program provided through the Department of Afterschool Programming. It utilizes research based Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) Physical Education activities, Camp Boost curriculum and Food Explorations. The SPARK program consists of inclusive physical activities that build social, fitness and other health-related skills, and build a lifelong love of personal fitness. Camp Boost, a program developed by Healthy Lifestyle Choices, focuses on empowering youth by developing the skills and attitudes needed to avoid participating in risky behaviors and lead healthier lives. Instructional units include life skills, conflict resolution, nutrition, substance abuse prevention, safety and fitness. Food Explorations was added to Give ‘em a Boost for the 2014-2015 school year and includes interactive cooking activities designed to introduce students to healthy foods. Food Explorations activities included guacamole, zucchini pizza bites, tomato soup, watermelon strawberry sorbets and rainbow fruit kabobs with yogurt dip. Throughout the 2014-2015 school year Give ‘em a Boost utilized enjoyable read alouds, hands on activities, engaging food explorations, open ended questions, student voice and choice and cooperative group work to provide students a well-rounded curriculum designed to provide a holistic approach to student wellness.
This initiative was made available to grades K-2 and 3-5 and was implemented one hour a day, three days a week in District elementary afterschool programs.
“I just wanted you to know what a hit our Food Exploration was. We made guacamole and it turned out great. I asked how many people tried it for the first time and more than half raised their hands and said that they now like guacamole!”
-Jacqueline Gersley, Assistant Director, Discovery Key Elementary
The Explore Literacy initiative enhances fluency and comprehension taught during the school day. It is based on fiction and non-fiction read alouds and incorporates research based Reader’s Theater selections. Reader’s Theater supports fluency and comprehension, while also encouraging creativity and team building as students read together in a fun-filled learning environment. To keep students engaged, Explore Literacy incorporates interactive hands on activities, open ended questions, student voice and choice and cooperative group work. This well-rounded curriculum promotes a lifelong love of reading.
Explore Literacy is aligned to the Florida Standards. Although it is available primarily for grades K-3, it is available to all elementary grades and is implemented one hour a day, three days a week. During the 2014-2015 school year, programs were given the opportunity to explore books and topics that encouraged personal wellness including:
- When Sophie Gets Angry-- - Really, Really Angry by Molly BangStudents explored feelings and ways to deal with their emotions, including exercises to calm them when they are angry.
- My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson PeeteStudents learned about a young boy with Autism, and discussed ways to positively establish social skills with all children. They also played activities that helped teach them about respect and friendship.
- The Bully Blocker's Club by Teresa BatemanStudents discussed what it means to be a bully, and were given suggestions on how to positively deal with bullying. They played hands on activities that taught them how to handle a bully should they ever encounter one.
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Students in Explore Literacy also took part in several community based projects during the 2014-2015 school year. In February, students created Valentine's Day cards for senior citizens in local nursing homes, and in April they decorated placemats for Meals on Wheel. Meals on Wheels is an organization that provides nutritious meals to over one million senior citizens. Volunteers with Meals on Wheels distributed the placemats along with meals directly to local senior citizens.
The Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) initiative supports and enriches science and math benchmarks taught during the regular school day in grades K-5 while introducing students to the fields of technology, engineering and art. This hands-on curriculum provides learning opportunities through the use of manipulatives, educational games and hands-on experiments in a safe, structured environment. STEAM engages students through use of the inquiry-based 5E Learning Cycle, allowing them to engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate topics through both fiction and non-fiction read alouds, open-ended questions, student voice and choice and cooperative group work.
STEAM is aligned to the District’s scope and sequence, Florida State Standards and the Next Generation Florida Sunshine State Standards. It is available for grades K-2 and grades 3-5 and is implemented one hour per day, three days per week during afterschool program hours. During the 2014-2015 school year, programs were given the opportunity to explore books and topics that encouraged personal wellness including:
- Going Green by David and Patricia ArmentroutStudents learned that going green is a way of caring for our environment and minimizing the dangers humans may cause to it. They learned about energy conservation as well as renewable energies such as coal, oil and natural gas.
- Your Skin Weighs More than Your Brain and Other Freaky Facts about Your Skin, Skeleton, and Other Body Parts by Barbara SeulingStudents learned about the function of their brains and the importance of protecting the brain from injury. They completed an activity in which they worked within cooperative groups to create helmets that would protect their brains during sports.
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Students in STEAM also took part in several community based projects during the 2014-2015 school year. In December, students created dream catchers for children at the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center. In March, students created Spring Break baskets for foster children in Palm Beach County. The baskets were delivered to Friends of Foster Children of Palm Beach County, Inc. and Place of Hope. Read more about the Spring Break baskets here.