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School Days Partners in After School and Summer Programs By Laura Correa-Hernandez, PIO, Gilroy Unified School District O ver the years, Gilroy Unified School District and its partners have fine-tuned the after school and summer camp programs that serve local youth. It takes a lot of planning, collaboration, and commitment to create such opportu- nities for extended education. The smiles and laughter of students as they engage with these programs makes it all worthwhile. The school district’s Power School After School and Super Power Summer Camp programs have become the high-quality models they are today because of the contributions of Mt. Madonna YMCA, Youth Alliance, and South County Cal-SOAP. Amanda Reedy, GUSD Program Administrator of After School Programs, said the district’s model is designed so that participat- ing students benefit from the strengths of each agency, regardless of which school site they attend. “We collaborated to design our strategic plan, use common measurement tools to ensure the same high quality across all sites, and provide training to all staff regardless of which agency they work for…to have a collective impact on the youth of Gilroy,” Reedy said. Program activities are designed to build confidence, self- sufficiency, academic success, and social responsibility. They also address the needs of K through 8 students who struggle academ- ically or are in one or more of the following categories: English learner, low-income, foster youth, migrant, and/or homeless. The After School Program offers support with academics and homework, a healthy snack, recreation time to encourage a physically active lifestyle, and extra-curricular enrichment activities. Students in the summer program enjoy creative learning and explore academic ambitions while achieving an important goal—avoiding summer learning loss. The success of both programs has made them a model for replication by other expanded learning programs across the state. The programs are aligned with the school district’s vision that all students will be “college and career ready” with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the 21st century workforce. In support of this vision, all staff members from each agency are required to have earned either an Associate of Arts Degree or 48 college credits. 38 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN The 2nd Annuall THINGAMAJIG Invention Convention hosted by Super Power Summer Camp and Mt. Madonna YMCA last July  at Antonio Del Bouno Elementary School. Students created projects that demonstrate learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 gmhtoday.com