Parent input sought for after-school program

Published 10:40 am Saturday, September 25, 2010

FRANKLIN—School officials say additional input is needed from parents of J.P. King Middle and Franklin High school students on what after-school programs should be offered at both buildings.

Franklin City Public Schools has been conducting a survey of parents and students since it was awarded two federal grants, called the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, which could total more than $1 million.

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle told the school board Thursday night she was disappointed in parent participation in the survey. Only four parents at the high school and two at the middle school took part.

“In order for this to work, we have to have input from all entities,” Belle said. “We’re going to work with the high school administration to see how we can get the word out to the parents very quickly. It’s important for us to hear from our parents as well.”

Belle said she expected to hear more from J.P. King parents because the school was holding an open house Thursday night. Copies of the survey had been distributed at the event.

Meanwhile, 296 high school and 208 middle school students took the survey, which asked participants to look through a list of possible after-school activities and select their three favorites.

“Every student had the opportunity to go through a (computer) lab and do the survey online,” Belle said. “That’s why we have so much input from the students versus the parents. The students have responded. We’re going to take another avenue to get it out to the parents.”

Among high school student respondents, 49 said basketball was their top choice for an after-school activity. Cosmetology ranked second with 30 votes, video gaming was third with 17, followed by art with 15. Auto mechanics, photography and volleyball all tied for fifth-place with 12 votes.

High school parents picked acting, career exploration, video gaming and cosmetology.

At the middle school, 32 students made video gaming their top selection for an after-school activity. Cooking earned second-place with 27 votes, followed by basketball with 19 votes, percussion with 12 and art and cosmetology with 11 each. The two parents who filled out the survey picked acting and cooking.

The two schools will collectively receive $350,000 for each of the next three years through the CCLC program, which is run by the U.S. Department of Education. The amount is contingent upon the availability of funds and satisfactory performance.

Under the terms of the grant, both schools are required to hire a site coordinator and a data secretary. A facilitator will also be hired to oversee implementation of the programs.

“There is a phenomenal amount of paperwork and data that has to be submitted monthly, and (the facilitator) will do that,” Belle said.

The superintendent added that although the division had originally planned to kick off the programs by mid-October, the survey delay might push it back to the end of the month.

“We want to do a good job planning,” Belle said.