Every day throughout the year, kids from the 26 Kyrene campuses attend some type of “out- of-school- time” program, all different in content but all focused on providing safe, fun and structured places to go before or after kindergarten through eighth-grade classes.
As assistant director of the Kyrene Community Education and Outreach Services Department in Tempe, Josh Glider is closely involved and extremely familiar with these programs.
Glider leads a staff of around 500 who devise and oversee the wide variety of “out-of-school-time” options for the district’s 12,000-plus students.
Glider, who was recently nominated for a Jane Romatzke Leadership Award because of his work, said the main programs that are currently offered are Kyrene Kids Club in the elementary schools and Kyrene After Hours for middle school students.
Through his work with the district, Glider says he has come to recognize and appreciate what it takes to create high-quality and innovative programs that do more than simply give students a place to go when school is not in session.
“What sets these programs apart is our commitment to quality as well as aligning our activities to the Kyrene School District curriculum,” Glider said, adding that his trained staff is made up of Kyrene employees who plan experiences for the students that support the kids’ academic achievement.
“In order to achieve quality, the program has to be safe and fun. But more than that it must meet the needs of the community, be affordable, promote excellent supervision, have well-planned and implemented lesson plans and activities, recruit and retain highly trained and motivated staff, and engage the entire community in the program.”
In addition to these two programs, Glider said the district also offers a variety of other options for students. These include Kyrene Community Theatre for students in kindergarten through high school; Athletic intramurals for fourth- through eighth-grade students, including Ultimate and Co-ed Volleyball; middle school athletics; youth enrichment for kindergarten through eighth grade, and Academies, a before-school, after-school and summer program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade that includes classes like Archery, Sea Floor Explorers, Lego Robotics and the Science of Candy Making.
Other out-of-school-time choices, Glider said, include evening and weekend experiences like Kids Night Out and Night Sports.
“Our programs are created based on community interest and need, which means we are constantly modifying and expanding what we currently offer as well as creating new experiences,” he said.
Glider said it is important for the district to provide students with quality programs and services that help to “expand” the school day.
“We firmly believe that the school should be the hub of the community, and therefore Kyrene buildings are viewed as community buildings,” he said.
Ideally, Glider said, this means that that out-of-school- time programs will ultimately be offered and available to students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
“We want every family member on our campus as well as every staff member, teacher and administrator within the school to participate in on-site events, provide feedback on the program, and ultimately feel a part of the wonderful culture we have created.”
For more information about Kyrene Kids Club and Kyrene After Hours, visit http://www.kyrene.org/Page/1337 and http://www.kyrene.org/Page/1318