Park City’s after-school program gets a makeover | ParkRecord.com

Park City’s after-school program gets a makeover

From left, Jessica Raycraft, 6, Landon Raina, 6, and Hailey Robson, 6, say "cheese" while enjoying a snack of carrots and milk after school at McPolin Elementary School on Monday. They are among the students participating in the Park City School Districts revamped after-school program.

On a day-to-day basis, students who participate in the Park City School District's after-school program may not notice many differences from last year.

But according to Todd Klarich, the district's new community education director, there's a change that may prove monumental. This year, the district is unifying the programs that were available to students, combining the popular Holy Cross Ministries' offering with the district's own community education program.

In the past, the two programs operated as two entities. They shared the same goals, but fought for space at schools, clamored for the same staff and competed for limited resources. By morphing them into one program, however, all those problems go away. And that means one thing for students, Klarich said: more opportunity.

"This has been needing to happen for years," he said. "And we're finally doing it. All the programs in the past have had excellent ideas, and now they can come together and share those ideas. They can take the strengths of Holy Cross, the strengths of the Park City School District and combine it."

The program, which any elementary school student can attend, runs Monday through Friday at all four elementary schools and allows students to participate in a number of activities. Time is allotted each day for students to complete homework and to play, and there will also be a strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) component, Klarich said.

Additionally, the program intends to partner with organizations such as EATS PC, Big Brothers Big Sisters Utah and Basin Recreation to ensure students are engaged throughout the year.

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Klarich said the program is vital for students, particularly those with working parents. It gives them a safe place to spend time after school and allows them to continue learning long after the final bell of the school day has rung.

"The parents want a safe, fun place for their students," he said. "They want the homework done. They want the enrichment to incorporate STEM. It's just a continuation of what they're doing in school."

Lauren Beheshti, a lead coordinator for the program, said good after-school programs can help change the lives of students. She is hopeful that Park City's offering will live up to that ideal, and she's eager to be a part of it.

"It's been a whirlwind start, for sure, just because merging these two programs is such a new thing," she said. "But it's great. We all love working with kids, and we know this makes such a big positive impact in the lives of the kids."

For more information on the after-school program, such as the cost or registration instructions, visit pcschools.us.