Despite Pandemic, Avondale Schools Make After-School Support Programs Work

By Bridget Dowd
Published: Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 11:29am
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During an average school year, struggling students would be able to get extra help from their teachers after class. But the switch to remote learning due to COVID-19 concerns has made that more difficult. But two Avondale schools are making their after-school programs work, despite the pandemic.

Avondale Middle School and Michael Anderson School have offered after-school support for first through eighth graders since 2019. But when the coronavirus pandemic forced everyone off campus, the Beyond the Bell Program was interrupted, too.

Now, with the help of a targeted grant, the schools are once again providing after-school tutoring and other activities.

Carly Schoettes teaches eighth grade math at Michael Anderson and coordinates the school's "Rocket Academy" program.

“We shifted to a virtual program and the virtual program is better than anything we ever thought it could be," Schoettes said.

Schoettes said students and staff members log back in after school to work in small Zoom groups.

“So they’re getting that small group, academic enrichment and then they get that extra step," Schoettes said. "So we’ve been able to do cooking classes. We’ve had dance, we’ve had painting, virtual field trips — we’ve gotten to do a lot of different things.” 

Michael Anderson offers outdoor, socially distanced, masked family engagement events. Schoettes said the program has become a community support outlet.

“We have 70 kids and families who are making it a priority to get back in online after they’ve been online all day," she said. "That just speaks to the relationship and the stuff that our kids are doing with the kids after school. They want to be there.”