To the Editor:
The research on which “High-Quality After-School Programs Tied to Test-Score Gains” (Nov. 28, 2007) reports supports something our network of middle schools providing faith-based education for the underserved has long known: Quality after-school programs contribute to academic excellence.
The NativityMiguel Network of Schools represents 64 schools in 27 states, enrolling 4,500 students. These schools boast a 90 percent high school graduation rate, compared with a national average of less than 60 percent for the demographics of the students served, and a 97 percent attendance rate. Our students come to school several grade levels below proficient, yet they graduate from middle school and go on to some of the finest high schools in the country.
Central to their success has been the network’s after-school component. Students spend, on average, 550 more hours in school than their peers in public schools, for a school day that averages nine hours. Our teachers tell us that after-school programs play a vital part in helping students successfully navigate adolescence by keeping them off the streets, away from negative influences, and giving them more time to focus on their studies.
Educational models like the one embraced by our schools demonstrate that high-quality after-school programming can contribute to the overall academic and social success of low-income students.
John W. Jordan
NativityMiguel Network of Schools