“If you do come here, they’ll be really nice to you and help you with everything you’re struggling with.”
With the many changes occurring this school year, students and staff were excited for some return to normalcy with the launch of the second year of Kid City at the beginning of October.
Kid City is an after-school program funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant. The district will receive $321,938 every year over a five-year cycle of this grant.
According to the U.S. Department of Education's website, the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program"supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools."
Like many things this year, Kid City had to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the summer, Kid City was relocated to City Park School, and it will continue there throughout this school year.
"We decided to relocate the Kid City program to City Park for safety reasons," Malisa Pedro, Kid City's program director, said. "We just want to be hyper cautious and diligent in ensuring that it is safe."
Pedro cites City Park's ventilation system, large classrooms and increased sanitation among the reasons why City Park is a safe alternative that allows them to continue the program while keeping students and staff safe.
"We do feel like the school is adequately prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic," Pedro said.
Even with the masks, social distancing and additional precautions, students and staff are excited to be back at Kid City.
Students attending Kid City participate in a variety of activities each day. The program balances enrichment activities like science, art, social-emotional learning and physical fitness with educational actives focused on literacy and math. In addition, students receive after school snacks and are served dinner daily.
This year, students were out of in-person school for five months due to the pandemic. Pedro says that makes this program more important than ever in helping close the learning gaps students may be facing.
"This year, out of all years, I feel like our program is needed more than any other year because they have been out of school," Pedro said. "We are trying to align our instruction specifically with what the students are learning in the classroom."
Bentley Hayes is a fifth grade student who has been a part of the program since the beginning.
"I look forward to every time I come here," Hayes said. "If you do come here, they'll be really nice to you and help you with everything you're struggling with."
Pedro sees Kid City as a way to support teachers in helping to close gaps for students.
"This is just an extra couple of hours each day," Pedro said. "Teachers are against the challenge of closing gaps, too, but we get to really make a big impact."