Today almost all parents need after-school programs for their school age children. San Francisco offers a wide array of school, center and home-based programs and most include some degree of public funding, often from the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families as part of San Francisco’s ground-breaking Children’s Fund. But many parents have a difficult time finding quality after-school programs that are convenient for them. Getting your child from school to after-school care when you may be across town at work can be a daunting challenge.
The School District has made a significant commitment to the expansion of after-school programs. However, we ended up with a mish-mash of funding sources, multiple programs in most schools and waiting lists at many schools. It was definitely time to re-organize our after-school programs to create a seamless, comprehensive, coherent system to better serve all our students.
In 2014, after years of discussions with child care advocates, I authored a policy to create an After-School for All Program within the San Francisco Unified School District. The District administration, principals, parent advocates, and the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families all agreed that we should improve our after-school system so that every child in a SFUSD elementary school may participate in the after-school program at their own school. After careful deliberation, the Board of Education passed this new policy unanimously.
The District and DCYF are working together to implement this policy.
We have merged programs at several schools, choosing a single provider to serve all students, regardless of their eligibility for child care subsidies. Waiting lists are gone at many schools.
For the coming year we will continue to work towards these goals at every SFUSD elementary school. A single sliding scale fee structure in in development and an integrated on-line registration for all after-school programs that have public funding is planned.
When families visit schools in SFUSD looking for a kindergarten for their
child, the answer to the question, “Do you have an after-school program for my child?” the answer must always be “Yes.” We are well on the way to achieving this goal in the next year or two.
In addition, we are expanding and investing in after-school programs in our middle schools and high schools. Better alignment and coordination for these schools will play a crucial role in achieving our equity goals and expanding the school day.
Information about After-School for All can be found on the District’s website – www.sfusd.edu.