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Research Forum on Quality After-School Programs for Middle School Students

Resource type: News

The Center for After-School Excellence |

In November, 2007 the Center sponsored the second in an on-going series of research forums in which after-school practitioners learn from leading scholars about pressing issues in their field. The topic was achieving quality and maximizing outcomes for middle school students who attend after-school programs. The featured speakers were Abigail Baird, Director of the Laboratory for Adolescent Studies at Vassar College; Pedro Noguera, Executive Director of NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Urban Education; and Richard Buery, Co-founder and Executive Director of Groundwork Inc. The event was attended by a range of leaders in the after-school field, including executive directors and managers of New York City nonprofit organizations, senior staff of the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development, and representatives of local foundations. Site directors and frontline staff members of many New York City after-school programs also attended. Attendees had an opportunity to pose questions from the field to the three featured speakers. Dr. Baird discussed adolescent brain development and shared insights into how this growth affects learning, judgment and behavior among middle school-aged kids. The discussion emphasized the value of training after-school educators on the developmental stages of teens, and how activities can be designed to meet their academic and social development needs. The discussion also covered methods of engaging middle school-aged youth; the importance of creating strong relationships between adults and adolescents; and how after-school can be structured to meet the needs of young adolescents. Dr. Noguera shared examples of successful activities and spoke about after-school programs in the context of educational change and reform in New York City. Mr. Buery, whose organization operates after-school programs in East New York, responded with insights from daily practice. Abigail Baird’s research interests include the integration of emotion and cognition across development, with a particular focus on neural development during adolescence. Visit The Teen Brain Web site Pedro Noguera is an urban sociologist who focuses his scholarship and research on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions in the urban environment. Download the City Council Middle School Report Richard Buery, is a graduate of HarvardCollege and YaleLawSchool. Born and raised in East New York, Brooklyn, he returned there to found Groundwork, Inc.,which provides high quality educational programs and support services to families in select neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

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