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December 27, 2023

Independent Evaluation Affirms the Success of Education United Afterschool Program

An independent evaluation of the first year of United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s Education United Academic and Enrichment Afterschool Program, which provides a free bilingual afterschool program to students from marginalized populations, found that it had many significant successes during the 22-23 school year. It is funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. Education United’s main goals, measured by performance indicators, are to provide services and programming that improve both academic and social-emotional outcomes for students, support the families of these students, and foster increased community involvement among key stakeholders.

The evaluation was based on the Brookside Elementary program in Ossining, the only location to open during the 22-23 school year. It found a consistent attendance of 169 students, with 95% accruing 15+ hours of attendance. Additionally, those students had a 60% increase in attendance from 2022-2023, which resulted in a 12% decrease in chronically absent students from 2022-23. Finally, the schoolteachers recognized a 50% increase in classroom engagement among the Education United Program students from 2022-2023. The evaluation also found a high level of parent satisfaction with program services and operations.

“Seeing a 60% increase in attendance and a 50% boost in classroom engagement is truly inspiring. Education United is not just offering afterschool activities; it’s sparking a passion for learning and unlocking potential in our most vulnerable students, said United Way of Westchester and Putnam Chief Impact Officer Faith Ann Butcher. “This program is a shining example of how collaboration and evidence-based practices can empower young minds and strengthen communities.”

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program (21st CCLC) is a federal grant administered by the New York State Education Department to subgrantees statewide. The 21st CCLC grant supports the development of community learning centers that offer students academic and enrichment opportunities and target students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. These grants focus on the following goals:

• Support students to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects (i.e., ELA and math);

• Provide opportunities to participate in enrichment; and

• Provide family support to include a variety of educational services.

On Oct. 2,. United Way kicked off Year 2 of the Education United Program at Brookside Elementary School in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle. It also launched the program at Highview Elementary School in Hartsdale. There are currently more than 300 students enrolled in the program. It is expanding to a third site at W.L. Moorse School in Tarrytown in the first quarter of 2024.