Until 1995, after-school care for Thousand Oaks Elementary students was provided by a dozen day care programs that shuttled students to their centers at the end of the school day. But in 1995, Thousand Oaks tapped into the districtwide after-school program, Kids' Involvement Network (KIN). A branch of the program was established in the racquetball club across the street from the school.
Trial and Error
The KIN staff worked with the staff at Thousand Oaks to find more suitable space. Thousand Oaks offered the gym and school grounds, along with tables from the cafeteria. The new space created a more familiar and productive environment for homework help and enrichment activities. But because the gym was shared space, the KIN staff had to coordinate with the gym teacher to make the arrangement work. A closet in the gym was given over to the after-school program for storing supplies during the day.
KIN has a space that works, and the content of the program is thriving. Parents and teachers notice that students are more inquisitive and better able to explain concepts. The program is also having a positive impact on grades and test scores. The KIN staff would like to expand the after-school offerings and use other areas of the school. They are meeting more often with the regular school staff to discuss space and they plan to use the computer labs in the future.