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A School Administrator’s Perspective on Selecting the Best After School Provider for Your District
The process of finding a stellar after school provider can sometimes be an arduous one, but it doesn’t have to be. Former Principal, Adam Dovico, shares his advice on what to be on the lookout for, when you should start looking, and more.
Considering starting your search? Dovico advises doing your research and having discussions with providers at least a year out.
“This gives time for necessary approvals, paperwork, transition plans, and logistical details to be set up in time for the following school year,” he said.
During those discussions, Dovico suggests keeping an eye out for these three key elements:
- A program that is willing to communicate and work with you and the school. It can be cumbersome having a program at the school, so ensuring that the program has a clear plan of action for space, materials, and needs is important.
- The program needs to have accommodating hours before and after school, and on teacher workdays. Parents rely on the program when school is out to have care available, so the program needs to be open and available.
- A strong site director is a difference maker in the success of the program. The individual site is only as strong as the person in charge, so the director needs to be someone who can be trusted and responsible for maintaining the expectations of the provider.
“Talking to fellow administrators is vital,” Dovico notes while discussing where school administrators can learn about quality after school programs. “Principals are typically open and honest with one another and can give the pros and cons of a program.”
Another approach, Dovico says, is to see the program in action by conducting a site visit to another school. It’s here that you’ll be able to quickly evaluate if the program is a good fit for your school.
While there are plenty of seemingly obvious components to consider upfront, Dovico reminds us that there are several other less-obvious factors to have top of mind.
“You want to make sure that the program has a clear plan for hiring,” said Dovico. “While many programs look to hire from within the school, you want to make sure that they will work with you to make for a smooth transition from the school day to the after school program.”
Dovico suggests also looking to see what the program is actually doing with kids, in addition to asking what the program is willing to give back to the school.
“There are times where specific donations or contributions may be able to be negotiated between the school and the program,” he said.
Choosing an after school program that meets the needs of your community is a big deal! Take the time to look for the right fit, and of course, we hope you choose AlphaBEST!
Adam Dovico is an accomplished teacher, principal, author, speaker, and professor. He began his career in North Carolina as an elementary school teacher, then worked as a teacher and the school implementation specialist for the renowned Ron Clark Academy, where he traveled across the country conducting professional development and on-site training to schools. Adam returned to his alma mater, Wake Forest University, to train the next generation of teachers as a clinical professor. Most recently, he served as the principal at Moore Magnet Elementary. Adam is married to his wife Jaclyn and they have two sons, Ryder and Maddox.