MONTPELIER — The Montpelier-Roxbury Public Schools District is moving ahead with an after-school program that will replace Community Connections and aims to expand student enrollment and programs offered.
A search committee unanimously recommended The After School Collaborative, also known as Part 2, a for-profit program based in Colchester. The other applicants were Montpelier Recreation Department; the YMCA, a national program; and Community Connections, which has run after-school programming in the school district since 2001.
Last week, the School Board accepted the recommendation to select Part 2 to manage after-school programming in the school district. Superintendent Libby Bonesteel said she is still working on a memorandum of understanding to establish Part 2 in the school district. There would be no contract payment for Part 2’s services, which will be fee-based, she added.
Part 2’s draft budget for programming anticipates providing programming for 125 students — 85 students at Union Elementary School and 40 and Main Street Middle School — with varying degrees of attendance through the week. Part 2 said it is committed to accepting any student wishing to participate in the program.
Fees for programming would start at $35 a day, rising in smaller increments to $88 for a five-day week, with slightly lower rates for siblings. A sliding scale of fees would also be offered for low-income families, based on income eligibility.
Based on those numbers, Part 2 anticipates annual revenues of $379,860, minus expenses of $375,000.
Parents can apply for the state childcare subsidy and scholarships from Part 2 to cover the difference, even if they don’t think they would qualify.
Parents can only register online and must pay with a debit or credit card but would be able to pay weekly or monthly.
The board also agreed to hire a full-time enrichment coordinator for an after-school child care program at Union Elementary School, extra-curricular activities at Main Street Middle School, and build a “bridge” to Montpelier High School for middle school students.
The request for proposals for the after-school program also recommended Part 2 hire any current Community Connections staff still working in the school district. The enrichment coordinator for the Part 2 program in Montpelier will be Drew McNaughton, who has worked for Community Connections at the middle school since 2004. His salary will be about $43,000.
“We’re excited to have Drew join our staff,” Bonesteel said. “Our plans for this position are to not only increase the opportunities for all our adolescent students, but also be a liaison between enrichment and school activities — particularly with regard to personalized learning.
“Drew will not only coordinate programming, but also have the ability to provide services directly to students,” Bonesteel added. “The district remains grateful to Community Connections for providing after-school care for our students.”
Details of Part 2’s offerings were contained in its application and in letters to parents from Part 2 and Bonesteel. There was also an informational meeting for parents and school district administrators with the senior leadership of Part 2 at UES on Monday.
At Monday’s meeting, Jeff O’Hara, co-owner of Part 2, said he moved to the state in 1997 and had worked in a preschool and as a para-specialist, classroom teacher, summer camp director, middle school teacher, assistant principal and a principal.
In 2002, O’Hara started Part 2’s first after-school program — School’s Out, in the South Burlington School District — and hired Leigh Lamphere as its director. Lamphere also became a co-owner of Part 2. The two have worked together ever since and partnered with three other school districts: Mount Mansfield Modified Union School District, Champlain Valley School District and Cambridge Elementary School.
At Monday’s meeting at UES, O’Hara stressed the word “collaborative” in the company’s name, saying that there would be twice-weekly meetings with Part 2 staff and school district administrators, to identify, develop and refine programming. Programming would include both school-based and off-site activities and would be managed by the “best of the best” directors working for Part 2, O’Hara said.
“We don’t have a cookie-cutter program,” O’Hara said. “Part 2 is different in every single school that we’re in.”
Surveys would be sent out to parents to ask them what kind of programs they would like to see in an after-school program, O’Hara added.
Based on the school calendar, programming would be provided for 40 weeks of the year and would include coverage after school between 3 and 6 p.m. Free, full-day coverage would be available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., for late-start weeks and for days when there was no school, such as in-service days and parent-teacher conference days. There would also be daylong programs during school vacations and summer camps, with a different fee structure.
Programming this year will not begin until the start of the school year in September. Part 2 will hold a meet-and-greet with program staff before school starts.
”We are quite pleased with Part 2,” Bonesteel said. “We have already experienced a great level of collaboration and openness that will help make this transition incredibly easy for families and the district.”