HOST (Before and After School, Summer Care) Programs
Background of HOST and Why Out of School
After school programs (ASP) were designed, developed, and implemented in 1990 at the request of Dr. Walter Sickles then Superintendent. Viewing the project as a community outreach initiative, he contacted the Director of Adult and Community Education, with a request to create a district-operated, fee-based after school program for elementary schools. Hillsborough County elected to follow the successful paradigm of the National School Age Child Care Association (NSACCA) and thus began School Age Child Care (SACC). The program has experienced remarkable growth as an affordable service for working families in the community.
The local YMCA was operating after school programs throughout the district concurrently with the implementation of SACC. The YMCA continues to contract with the school board to provide programs in forty elementary schools and two exceptional education centers. The 2006-2007 school year is the third of a five year contractual agreement with the Tampa YMCA.
In September 2006, Superintendent MaryEllen Elia transferred the rapidly growing after school programs from the Department of Adult and Community Education in the Division of Curriculum and Instruction to the Division of Federal Programs and Student Services. The Department of Early Childhood has since taken on the title of The Department of Early Childhood and After School Programs. Grant-based after school programs such as 21st Century Community Learning Centers are now encompassed by the Title I office, as these grants are available exclusively to Title I schools.
The Hillsborough County School Board approved a measure to combine the School Age Child Care (SACC) and Middle School Extended Day (MSED) Programs into a single program with a single name: the Hillsborough County Public Schools Out -of- School Time (HOST) Program. The rationale for combining the Elementary and Middle School Programs into a single unit includes many factors. Both programs are operated by the school district and aim to provide identical, age-appropriate services. The merged program helps build relationships between feeder schools and establish continuity between Elementary and Middle School Programs.
The HOST mission and vision have changed over the years in response to explosive growth and the changing needs of students and the community. Programs were initially perceived as child care services only. Families and the district have come to expect an academic component to the HOST paradigm. Meeting this expectation requires an unprecedented amount of managerial coordination and expertise.
Even with this added responsibility, HOST continues to flourish, offering supervision as well as a variety of age-appropriate enrichment activities for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Every HOST site creates a plan of daily activities including homework assistance, academic enrichment, arts & crafts, games, structured outdoor activities, and field trips. District after school programs are committed to assisting schools boost student achievement. Many schools provide students access to computer labs and tutorial software such as FCAT Explorer, SuccessMaker®, and Fast Math.
Since 2003, the elementary programs have grown in number from fifty-eight (58) to one-hundred thirteen (113) sites. Of those 113 sites, forty-one (41) have eighty (80+) or more enrolled students. Meanwhile, middle school programs have transitioned from free, grant-based programs to fee-based, weekly programs. There are currently thirty-six (36) morning and/or after school programs at middle school sites.
Why Out of School
The term “out-of-school time program” (OST program) refers to the broad range of programs available to children and youth attending elementary and middle school that take place outside the regular school day. These programs include before and after school as well as summer programs. They encompass programs that have such focuses as tutoring, recreation, arts, character education, literacy, service-learning, and general enrichment. Hillsborough County after school programs provide community families with safe, supervised environments for student enrichment.
The school district has a long and ongoing history of successful out-of-school programs that effectively serve the needs of the community while promoting student achievement. Programs were initially perceived as child care services only. The request for, as well as the demand on these programs to provide quality academic enrichment have dramatically increased since the programs’ inception seventeen years ago. No Child Left Behind introduced unprecedented emphasis on the after school program’s role in academics.
Mission: Provide Out-of-School Time programs that empower students to grow and develop in a safe, caring and educationally enriched environment.