- Francis C. Hammond Middle School will launch Linking Instruction Nurturing Knowledge (LINK) Club a 21st Century Community Learning Center funded by the US Department of Education.
- FCH LINK Club will begin September 30, 2019 and runs through May 22, 2020.
- Students will be served at LINK Club from 3:15pm to 6:00pm four days/week (Monday-Friday).
- LINK Club is made possible through a collaborative partnership between Francis C. Hammond (FCH), ACPS Offices of Title I Services and School, Business and Community Partnerships, the Concerned Citizens Network of Alexandria (CCNA), and the City of Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (DRPCA). DRPCA is the lead partner.
- FCH LINK Club will provide year-round services to 100 FCH middle school students. Students will be divided into 4 separate groups of 25, including 3 grade-level groups and a group of newly arriving immigrant students who attend the FCH International Academy (IA).
- While all of the nearly 1,500 students attending FCH will be eligible to apply for LINK Club, a rubric will be used to ensure the highest need students are served. Applicants will receive 3 points for each of the following nine categories they fall into: 1) belong to minority racial/ethnic group, 2) eligible for free/reduced meals, 3) English Learner, 4) have an IEP, 5) have an average of C or below in core academic subject areas, 6) failed reading SOL in the previous year; 7) failed math SOL in the previous year; 8) in foster care or homeless; and/or 9) have been referred to the program by a school social worker or administrator. Students with the highest ranking will be selected to participate.
WHAT IS LINK CLUB?
- LINK Club is a comprehensive out-of-school-time program designed to provide academic tutoring, enrichment opportunities, mentoring and family engagement to high-need middle school students (25 per grade level 6th-8th and 25 IA students).
- In addition to academic support offered LINK Club will provide an array of activities designed to engage middle school students and build their self-confidence, resiliency, and interpersonal skills, while reinforcing school-day learning. Services will also be offered to the families of the participating students to engage them in the learning journey.
- POWER HOUR - A primary focus of LINK Club will be “linking” the instructional services received during the school day to the support provided to students during afterschool hours. Twelve FCH certified teachers will facilitate “Power Hour” in small grade-level/international academy groups thrice weekly. During Power Hour, students will benefit from homework help, tutoring and remedial supports. ACPS teachers will focus on the concepts covered during the school day in order to help build student competencies, especially in reading and mathematics. Grade level teachers will work with students at ratio of approximately 8:1.
- MENTORING - High quality afterschool programs have proven to have positive long-term effects on school attendance and students’ connection to the school. Specifically, correlational studies show that students who report caring and supportive relationships are less likely to be chronically absent and do better academically. CCNA will work to connect each student with an empowered, caring and culturally appropriate adult who will serve as role models providing students with psychosocial support, career guidance and additional language acquisition opportunities. Students participating in LINK Club will be connected to individual mentors who will serve as role models providing students with psychosocial support, career guidance and additional language acquisition opportunities. Moreover, mentors will play a critical role as a liaison to the family, helping them to understand how to navigate the school system and support their students’ learning. Mentors will meet with students once per week serving different grade level/IA group students on different days. Mentors will serve students at a 1:3 mentor-student ratio.
- ENRICHMENT ELECTIVES - Beyond academic support, LINK Club will nurture positive growth through social interactions and enriching opportunities. A variety of elective clubs will be offered outside vendors and interested teachers twice per week to promote physical, social, emotional and cognitive development, imagination and creative expression. Students will be able to choose from a variety of project-based and culturally relevant learning activities, including robotics, coding, debate club, world art club, poetry slams, chess club, mathletes, cooking, , etc.
- RECREATION/SPORTS - Sports and recreation opportunities will also be offered daily during LINK Club. Inclusion of regular sports and fitness activities not only will help students maintain physical health and wellness but promotes physiological well-being, reduces feelings of anxiety/depression and improves self-esteem while promoting team work, discipline and social skills essential to success in school and life. Activities will include basketball, soccer, hip hop and Latin dance and yoga.
- FAMILY ENGAGEMENT - To further promote optimal student development, LINK Club will be grounded in respectful and reciprocal relationships with the families of students served. Opportunities for families will include workshops geared at supporting student learning and development through hand on activities that can be easily duplicated at home. In addition, a 14-week Strengthening Families Program (SFP) will be offered to participating students and their families.SFP is a nationally and internationally recognized program for high-risk and general population families found to significantly improve parenting skills and family relationships, reduce problem behaviors, delinquency and alcohol and drug abuse in children and to improve social competencies and school performance. Targeted outreach will be conducted to also invite LINK Club families to participate in monthly principal chats and other school activities.
- NUTRITIOUS MEALS -ACPS Office of Nutrition will provide a health snack and dinner daily to student participants.
IT’S ALL ABOUT COLLABORATION
Primary funding for all components of FCH LINK Club will be funded by US Department of Education-21st CCLC funding. However, LINK Club is not possible without the collaborative efforts of various ACPS departments and community partners.
- ALEXANDRIA DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION, PARKS & CULTURAL ACTIVITIES (DRPCA) - DRPCA will serve as the lead partners providing program coordination. Students will check into DRPCA between 3:15-3:30pm daily. DRPCA Leads assigned to each grade level/IA student groups will facilitate snack and community circles with their group daily before escorting the groups to their various activities including Power Hour, mentoring, elective clubs and the facilitation of recreation/sports. DRPCA Leads will serve dinner and dismiss students daily. Daily attendance and nutrition records will be managed by DRPCA.
- CONCERNED CITIZENS NETWORK OF ALEXANDRIA (CCNA): As a partner, CCNA will fund a part-time staff to provide coordination of program mentoring and family engagement support. CCNA will recruit and train individual mentors to support participating students and their families. CCNA will oversee mentoring four days per week and support ongoing communication with families served.
- ACPS OFFICE OF TITLE I SERVICES—Title I allocations made available to FCH through the ACPS Office of Title I Services and U.S. Department of Education will fund 33% of LINK Club’s afterschool teachers (4 teachers) and an Academic Coordinator. FCH teachers will facilitate Power Hour 3 days per week. An FCH administrator will serve as the Academic Coordinator and provide oversight of the afterschool academics (Power Hour), including communications with classroom and afterschool teachers and achievement data tracking/management.
- ACPS DEPARTMENT OF OPERATIONS –ACPS Department of Operations will coordinate evening buses and snacks/meals for student participants. The Office of Transportation will provide transportation for pick-up and drop-off of students up by 6:00pm daily. The Office of Nutrition will provide snacks/dinner for students daily.
- ACPS OFFICE OF SCHOOL, BUSINESS AND COMMUNTIY PARTNERSHIPS – ACPS Office of School, Business and Community Partnerships will supervise a Data and Grant Manager who will provide leadership and administrative support to ensure all expectations of the grant are met, including student/family service delivery, staff training, program files, partner communications, evaluation of outcomes and submission of all reports by deadlines.
- OTHER COMMUNITY PARTNERS—Community partners will be engaged provide a variety of in-kind enrichment programming and family engagement opportunities for LINK Club. For example, Boolean will provide a 10-week Coding Club for students; INOVA Health Systems will facilitate a 10-week Teen Cuisine, Cooking Club; Alexandria Soccer Association will provide three 6-week indoor futsol clubs; Hot Topic All Stars will provide two 6-week hip hop dance clubs; and PK Move will provide two 6-week parkour clubs. SCAN of Northern Virginia will offer a 14-week Strengthening Families Program for participating students and their parents.
The following are the measurable objectives for the LINK Club program:
- Measurable Objective 1: 70% of regularly participating students will meet minimum proficiency or make progress in reading as demonstrated by SOL scores.
- Measurable Objective 2: By June 2022, 70% of regularly participating students will meet minimum proficiency or make progress in mathematics as demonstrated by SOL scores.
- Measurable Objective 3: By June 2022, 75% of parents/family of regularly participating students will attend 2 or more family engagement events annually; and 85% will indicate that they will be able to use the information received.
- Measurable Objective 4: By June 2022, 85% of regularly participating students will show positive attitudes toward self and school as demonstrated by student surveys.
- Measurable Objective 5: By June 2022, 85% of regularly participating students will attend 90%+ of all scheduled school days.