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State Remains Stagnant in Providing Extracurriculars

Pennsylvania received a 3 out of 5 score in a public advocacy group's assessment of how well the state provides extracurricular programs to continue education for students after school hours.

Jodi Grant, executive director of the nonprofit Afterschool Alliance says Pennsylvania has made some improvements to provide these programs, but more can be done. Since 2004, the percentage of kids in after school programs has remained at 9 percent while other states have seen increases because of government investments. However, there are councils at the state level to promote focus on after school programming.

In the current economic climate, Grant said the percentage of students taking part in after class programs remaining stagnant isn't surprising, and she's hopeful the state's efforts will help Pennsylvania's youth in the coming years. Currently, according to America After 3PM, 26 percent of students are on their own when school ends, but 32 percent of children's parents say they would participate in after school programming were it available.

Grant said after school is a great way to continue students' education in a less formal way.

"The instructors have actually aligned those activities with things they're learning in the school day," Grant said. "So the kids are having fun but it's actually complementing and supplementing their school day learning."

Grant said programs after classes don't necessarily have to be at the school.

"When I talk about after school programs, I'm actually talking about programs that happen before school, after school, and summer learning programs," Grant said. "They can actually happen at a school or they can happen at a site that's not a school. They can happen at a rec center or at a college or university."