In 2015, the APC Children & Youth Services’ Education Center which provides after-school programming, is no longer a one-room schoolhouse! Education Center staff hosted a grand opening celebration of their new and spacious home on January 14, 2015 for APC families and community supporters. In lieu of cutting a ribbon, the children christened their new space with a scavenger hunt and a piñata.
Attendance for the Education Center’s program grew significantly during the last school year, largely due to the implementation of a new web-based literacy program called I-Ready. The program was both fun and engaging for kids, but also provided parents with detailed reporting regarding their children’s progress. As a result, parents were incredibly supportive of the program and ensuring that their children attended regularly. Thirty children participated in the I-Ready pilot program, most of whom were reading two years below grade level. By the end of the school year, twenty of the children had made two years of progress.
“What’s happening in the APC Education Center right now is really exciting,” said Executive Director, Doug Biggs. “Past housing instability has put the majority of our kids in an academic deficit, but the I-Ready program has proven to be the right kind of tool to help them get back on track with reading. Moving into the new space allows us to bring this opportunity to even more of our young people.”
The expansion of the Education Center could not have happened without the support of the generous support of many Alameda groups and individuals who donated funds, books and furnishings, and helped with much of the hard work of physically setting up the new space. APC would like to acknowledge the Alameda City Firefighters, Local 689 and Alameda Education Association for their support of the Education Center over the last two years, Alain Pinel Realty, VF Outdoor, Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Haas School of Business.
Much of the work done at the Education Center, however, was done by the children themselves. From carrying stacks of board games by hand, to creating a wish list of books for the new library, to mulching the flowerbeds, APC staff has encouraged the children to take ownership in the space. As a finishing touch, an APC mom is helping the children to create a colorful mural featuring some of their favorite cartoon characters in the entry to the center. From start to finish, the new Education Center has been a community affair.