Fifth-grade teacher Lorrie Mirams stood watch as students put their headphones on to start their work in the computer lab. The gym across the hall was filled with students shouting as they played games, and Principal Kathleen Einhorn walked through the hall with a smile on her face, glad that the first day was going smoothly.
"What we have done over the past couple of years is identify about 70 kids that we serve over the course of the year," Einhorn said. "When we look at the data, our kids that have been in the after-school program have made pretty significant gains in their academics over the course of the year."
The programs at Trailside and the other three elementary schools in Park City are funded in part by the United Way and the Park City Education Foundation. They were able to order a new science enrichment program this year called Engineering Adventures.
Einhorn expects that will start if not in November or December then right at the beginning of 2014. The program will take the place of the physical activity rotation currently in place.
Last year, science enrichment was fulfilled with the help of the Swaner EcoCenter. Einhorn said she will be speaking with them this week to see how they can get that cooperation up and going again, because it was extremely beneficial for her students.
Einhorn also said she feels lucky that many of her teachers volunteer their time and effort in the after-school program. ESL teacher Elizabeth Weiss sees it as beneficial for both her and her students.
"Many of my students participate, and it's a good way for me to see what is happening throughout their day and where they need help," Weiss said.
The Computer Lab and Homework Help are where she finds students benefit the most, because they "get time on computers they might not have at home" and help with their homework that their parents may not be able to provide them "because of the language difference."
The district does provide transportation and a discount on the nominal fee for those who need it, Einhorn said.
"It really is an invaluable program, and we are just so grateful for the support from the district, the United Way, and the Ed Foundation to keep this going," Einhorn said. "It makes a difference for our students."