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Sioux City Community Schools Afterschool Program

Sioux City, IA
Capital: Social, Polity, Personal

The Beyond the Bell Program in Sioux City, Iowa, is a comprehensive afterschool program that provides academic support, tutoring, character education, fitness/recreation, and service learning. A strong community investment in the program provides students with many opportunities to increase their human and social capital.

A strong connection with the building principals and teachers helps the Beyond the Bell Program work collaboratively with daytime staff. Teachers in the afterschool program also teach during the day. The afterschool program has a strong relationship with the school day through its character education curriculum and parent involvement. Students earn "Character Bucks" from both daytime and afterschool staff and can make purchases at the Character Store on Fridays. Parents can earn points by attending school events such as PTO meetings and parent-teacher conferences. When parents have earned 500 points, they receive a gift certificate to thank them for their support.

The Beyond the Bell Program also helps students by merging academic skills with life skills. One example is an activity called "Dining Out." Each child receives $12 to spend at a local restaurant. Before going to the restaurant, the children receive a copy of the menu to make their dinner choice. They practice adding menu prices, figuring tax and tip, and making change. Children also practice manners, discuss appropriate restaurant behavior, and learn about nutrition. At the end of the project, students go to the restaurant, receive a tour of the facility, and enjoy a meal. This project is especially meaningful to many students living in poverty who have never eaten in a restaurant other than a fast-food establishment.

Beyond the Bell Program staff work with the community to provide additional opportunities for students. More than 50 private businesses and community organizations provide programming—for little or no charge—for Beyond the Bell children each year.

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