On March 3, 2020, representatives from the U.S. Department of Education were invited by OSPI to tour an Expanded Learning Afterschool Program at Meeker Middle School in the Kent School District. “Any time OSPI asks to visit it is an honor,” said Director of Expanded Learning Liz Chick, “and hosting representatives from the U.S. Department of Education was the highest honor.”
The visit began with a moment of table talk to allow community based partners, Meeker’s Principal, Shannon Glover, and PSESD to respond to questions from the visitors. Following the discussion, two students from Meeker Middle School provided a tour of some of the different enrichment activities that were taking place at the time. One of the stops of the tour was at the cooking club, led by a program partner from the Kent Parks and Recreation Department. Students presented home-made chicken soup and gushed about how much they loved the program and appreciated gaining culinary skills. As the tour continued, visitors were invited to showcase their moves at the dancing club. In partnership with the program After-School All-Stars, it was clear that the positive bond formed between the program lead and students created a safe space where teamwork and creativity could flourish. As the tour came to a close, visitors asked the guides what they enjoyed about their experiences in the afterschool program. After some thought, students revealed that they enjoyed the opportunity to try new things out and appreciated the support provided by teachers and other leaders to spend time assisting them on their academics.
Jon Paul Bulala, Expanded Learning Site Coordinator, worked with partners and students in preparing for this amazing tour. In support of the Expanded Learning program, Program Specialist Celeste Wojdyla, Grant Accountant Mark Turley and Educational Equity & Evaluation Consultant Mona Mazraani from Puget Sound ESD both attended the visit at Meeker Middle School as well. Chick cited their investment to make sure that the budget is transparent, data is collected accurately and that student needs are being met as one of the main reasons why PSESD has such a great reputation. Thanks to all visitors, partners, staff and students who make Meeker Middle School’s Expanded Learning Afterschool program such a success!