Jacksonville Public Education Fund researchers analyze county’s seventeen largest free and low-cost afterschool and summer learning providers
For Jacksonville to reach its full potential as a city, we must build a citywide system so that all children have the opportunity to learn and grow, preparing them to succeed in the future. Afterschool and summer learning programs can provide the time and experiences for children to develop vital skills that will give them a competitive advantage in the workforce and improve their educational outcomes.
The following report outlines a series of strategies for improving the quality of and access to afterschool and summer learning programs through a coalition of funders, nonprofits and other stakeholders called Jax Shines.
The coalition members stand united in support of one vision: to create a citywide partnership of excellent afterschool and summer learning programs that give all youth the opportunities and supports to develop the skills that enable them to thrive in school and in life.
In the report, the coalition outlines a three-part plan for achieving this vision:
- Creating a shared framework for program quality.
- Creating a common understanding of data quality and building a shared data system.
- Creating a governance structure for ongoing coordination and advocacy.
As outlined in the report, researchers from the Jacksonville Public Education Fund undertook an analysis of Duval County’s seventeen largest free and low-cost afterschool and summer learning providers to look for patterns in enrollment, communities served, cost and funding, program focus and student demographics. Much of the information collected varied because there is no standardized process for collecting and reporting data.
Among the most significant findings were:
- There is a combined $36.8 million spent on afterschool and summer learning programs, serving 35,700 children and youth at over 300 sites primarily in schools and lower income neighborhoods.
- There is a need to coordinate program locations to avoid competition for the same students. In many cases, there are multiple programs in a single school, or neighborhood programs within very close proximity of schools with programs.
- More than half of students participating in afterschool (55 percent) and summer (61 percent) programs are female, signaling the need to create more strategies for attracting male students.
- There is a need and a demand to connect older students to quality programming. The vast majority of afterschool and summer programs serve exclusively elementary school age students — nearly three-quarters in afterschool and 60 percent in summer.
- There is a need to create a common set of quality practices, a common data system and a continuous improvement process to improve our afterschool and summer learning programs so that they can in turn improve outcomes for our students.
We are excited to work hand in hand with our funders –The Wallace Foundation and the Jacksonville Children’s Commission – as well as our community partners -- Duval County Public Schools, JAX Chamber, The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, United Way of Northeast Florida and the City of Jacksonville to move public education forward and make the city a more vibrant place for our students and for the greater community.