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Staying After School Could Help Cut State’s Drop-Out Rate

November 5, 2007

Columbus, OH - About 70 Ohio schools have been cited for high dropout rates in a recent national report, and the state is looking for ways to improve student performance and retention. Some school districts believe what happens after school is just as important as classroom time in improving the numbers. Liz Nusken, director of the Ohio Afterschool Network, says after-school, extracurricular programs are a great way to keep students interested and help them learn.

"Even if they're not focusing on academics explicitly, there are positive impacts related to learning, school attendance, and achievement on standardized tests."

There's an additional advantage to after-school programs: they keep students occupied during those hours between the end of the school day and the end of parents' workdays, when Nusken says kids may find their way into trouble.

"Children are victims or perpetrators of crimes, and engage in high-risk behaviors if they don't have something productive interesting to do with their time. They'll certainly find something to do -- but it's not always what we want them to do."

For similar reasons, Nusken says, students benefit from summer programs, too. Ohio kids have a wide range of after-school options, according to Nusken, including physical education, academic programs, social and club activities. She adds Ohio schools would benefit from a big boost in after-school support from the state and federal governments.


Rob Ferrett/John Robinson, Public News Service - OH