Friday, December 13, 2019
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Sharyland-LogoNext month, the number of campuses at Sharyland ISD offering after school daycare will double.

Starting Tuesday, Oct. 1, Olivero Garza Sr. Elementary School will stop accepting payments for their after school daycare program offered to its 640 students.

Instead, the campus will begin offering an “accelerated learning” program.

“It’s an extended day for a child to receive tutoring after school,” Pamela Montalvo, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, informed the Sharyland board of trustees at a Monday workshop. “The child stays at school until 6 p.m. so the parents can keep working and they have access to a certified teacher. This is something we’re doing in house at our two campuses who have the most economically disadvantaged students.”

Montalvo informed the school board of the accelerated learning program-which has been offered at Jessie L. Jensen Elementary School since the beginning of the month-will be implemented at O. Garza Elementary.

According to Montalvo, while all other district elementary schools provide daycare, Jensen had staff members with the Mission Boys & Girls Club provide daycare services to students through an agreement with the city of Mission.

“Unfortunately due to budget cuts we were informed this past summer that the agreement would not be able to continue,” Montalvo told the board. “We looked at resources we had and thanks to new provisions in House Bill 3, we can actually pay for daycare. We wanted to provide more than that, we wanted to provide accelerated instruction to students.”

As part of accelerated instruction, eight campus employees-including four teachers will stay after school until 6 p.m. to ensure students staying after school will have access to tutoring. Since it started at Jensen at the beginning of the month, 127 Jensen elementary students from its class of 630 students have used it, Montalvo said.

Students also have access to 72 Chromebooks for computer work and the district set aside $150,000 to fund for the overtime pay for the eight after school employees for the extra work. Montalvo said she expects a similar model to be used at Garza.

“Its teachers working, not daycare workers. You’d walk in and see kids either in stations working together on projects or receiving one on one help from teachers, doing homework or reading to catch up on their AR points,” Montalvo said.

After noticing that more than 80 percent of students at Jensen and Garza come from economically disadvantaged families-the highest number of any Sharyland campus-the district decided to offer free after school daycare at Garza as well.

At these two campuses, parents will be exempt from having to pay the campus’ standard $5 per day fee they have to pay monthly to let their children stay after school.

District Superintendent Maria Vidaurri praised the initiative Sharyland was taking to make after school care more accessible for parents.

“The key is to make it an extension of the classroom in a more hands-on format so teachers can help kids be ready in school so they can go above and beyond from what they got in a regular instruction,” Vidaurri said. “It helps them understand more.”

The board asked about visiting the campuses to see the after school accelerated learning at work, which Montalvo enthusiastically agreed to.

“I think once families realize that they now have this opportunity for free, we’ll get a lot
more parents using these services,” Montalvo said. “We will follow the same model at Jensen to provide accelerated instruction for Garza.”