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Expanded Support for Afterschool & Summer Programs in Spokane County will Provide More Young People with High-Quality Services

by Danielle Baer | | Posted under School's Out News

The recently launched School’s Out Washington Spokane office will support afterschool and summer programs with training and quality improvement services proven to yield positive youth outcomes.

Spokane, Wash. December 14, 2017 – School’s Out Washington, a statewide organization supporting afterschool and summer programs, has launched a new Spokane office to better serve communities in and around Spokane County and Eastern Washington. The new office which will house two staff members comes with growing awareness around the critical role of afterschool and summer programs in supporting young people’s school and life success.

Children and youth spend only 20% of their waking hours in school. How they spend the remaining 80% of their time has a profound impact on their school and life success.  Expanded learning opportunities offered outside the traditional school day are shown to improve grades, attendance, and social emotional health.  A growing body of research tells us that it’s not just about access to programs, but also the quality of services delivered when it comes to engaging young people in a way that results in meaningful, youth outcomes.

For 30 years, School’s Out Washington has positively impacted Washington’s young people by offering an array of services to improve the quality of afterschool and summer programs.  Now, with the launch of a Spokane office, children and youth in Spokane and neighboring counties will benefit from increased capacity to support staff in delivering high-quality services proven to yield benefits for children and youth.

“We are thrilled to officially launch our first Spokane office and have two excellent staff members on board to better serve the communities of Spokane and Eastern Washington,” said Elizabeth Whitford, CEO of School’s Out Washington.  “School’s Out Washington has served the entire state of Washington for many years, but we know that with full-time staff from Spokane dedicated to advancing the afterschool field and improving the quality of services, the opportunities are endless to build strong partnerships and positively impact more youth.”

In their new roles with School’s Out Washington, Benjamin Baird, Spokane County Program Quality Manager, and Maria Johnson, Spokane County Coach Coordinator, will provide professional development, training, and support services to afterschool and summer program providers.

Additionally, Benjamin and Maria will be spending a good portion of their time supporting programs in Spokane and Walla Walla counties involved in the Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Quality Initiative; a public-private partnership funded by the Early Start Act, the Raikes Foundation, Washington’s Department of Early Learning and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Results from the 2016-2017 pilot year of the initiative showed enhanced support for high-level ELO programs can improve program quality and student engagement.  School’s Out Washington, the University of Washington, the Raikes Foundation, and the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality contributed to the assessment that produced these findings.

The legislature allocated $750,000 to continue the initiative this school year, and will serve a total of 40  programs in King, Pierce, Spokane and Walla Walla counties.

“Afterschool and summer programs are a vital part of our community and provide an array of opportunities that help young people discover passions and develop skills,” said Sally Pritchard, Vice President, Community Impact at the Spokane County United Way. “Spokane County United Way has partnered with School’s Out Washington for the past five years to enable local youth development programs to improve quality through training and coaching.  We are excited by the launch of the Spokane office, which means having more resources here to support quality practices and create a strong network of support for programs.  Together we can work toward our vision of helping all students achieve success.”

The School’s Out Washington office will be co-located with the Spokane County United Way. To learn more about School’s Out Washington’s services in Spokane and Eastern Washington, contact Benjamin Baird at bbaird@schoolsoutwashington.org or Maria Johnson at mjohnson@schoolsoutwashington.org


Media Contact: Danielle Baer

206-351-6141 | dbaer@schoolsoutwashington.org

School’s Out Washington provides services and guidance for organizations to ensure all young people have safe places to learn and grow when not in school. SOWA is dedicated to building community systems to support quality afterschool, youth development and summer programs for Washington’s children and youth ages 5 through young adulthood.

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