Club 1050 at the Bayonne Jewish Community CenterPresentation Transcript
Club 1050 at the Bayonne Jewish Community Center
The 411 on 1050 Housed in the Bayonne Jewish Community Center Center serves remaining small Jewish population native to Bayonne and Hudson County, as well as the students from the Yeshiva located in the city. JCC offers other classes to youths and families of all religions Began in 1999 (under the name Homework Plus) At its peak, served 90 children Now has enrollment of 50 Program serves Pre-K through 8th grade Provides full-day programs on days Bayonne Public Schools have vacation Provides bus transportation to all but one of the schools served Charges a monthly fee for the program Shares staff and clientele with Camp Kadimah, the 8-week long summer camp
The 411 on 1050 Club 1050 serves children in schools throughout Bayonne (including 11 public schools and 1 Catholic school) and the Greenville section of Jersey City. This is an area of approximately eight square miles.
Purpose of Research In fulfilling the ethnographic research project set forth by Professor Leak, I chose to research Club 1050. This program was chosen specifically because although it is an after-school program that charges a fee, it has a loyal group of participants. What is it that causes parents to choose it year after year for their children? I hoped to gain more insight into this through ethnographic research. An ethnographic study, full of the thick descriptions emphasized in Denizen, is one of the best research models for investigating a program such as this, as it allows the investigator to immerse themselves and their readers in the environment. Additionally, this course of research emphasizes the importance of context in the interpretation of all data that are gathered.
Literature Review & Rationale In “The Impact of After-School Programs That Promote Personal and Social Skills,” Durlak et. al. write that “estimates suggest that more than 7 million children in the United States are without adult supervision for some period of time after school. This unsupervised time puts youth at risk for such negative outcomes as academic and behavioral problems, drug use and other types of risky behavior.” Durlak and his team of researchers also conclude that “young people benefit when they spend time engaged in structured pursuits that offer opportunities for positive interactions with adults and peers.” “For most full-time employed parents, the gap between the end of the school day and the time they arrive home from work adds up to about 20–25 hours per week. Thus, many parents look to after school programs to satisfy their desire for safe, enriching experiences for their children while they are working.” - Priscilla M.D. Little et. al. After School Programs in the 21st Century: Their Potential and What It Takes to Achieve It Parent’s concern over their children’s safety during after-school hours.
Literature Review & Rationale In their 2007 article “Engagement in after-school program activities: quality of experience from the perspective of participants” David Shernoff and Deborah Vandell reiterated the importance of homework: “Homework can play a critical role in the development of children’s achievement motivation.” “[Students] rarely seeing the relevance or utility value adults attribute to it,” Shernoff and Vandell reiterate. Students’ “homework in middle school principally involves repetition and practice of class work, which students perceive as monotonous.” Increasing concern over academic performance in schools throughout the United States, and the role homework plays in it.
Literature Review & Rationale “Staff members were generally cheerful and related to the youth warmly. This observation is in accord with previous research which found that positive emotional climate in an ASP was related to better outcomes.”
Amanda Brown Cross, et. al.
Implementation Quality and Positive Experiences in After-School Programs “Most of the staff have degrees, and those who don’t have a long history with the program. Parents have a history with our staff and many other parents come to the program because they are frustrated by programs that have a younger, disinterested staff.” -Erin van Horn, Club 1050 Director Importance of high-quality staff to an after-school program’s success.
Specifics of Ethnographic Study Research Question How does participation in Club 1050 impact students’ performance in school? Relationship with Club 1050 No prior relationship with Club 1050, but there was a prior relationship with the JCC, several staff members and a few of the participants. Assumptions I assumed that there would be a strong emphasis on academic achievement, as it appears to be primarily a homework-centric program. Additionally, I assumed there would be an even representation of white and non-white students and a large number of students who had a longstanding history with programs at the JCC.
Specifics of Ethnographic Study Observations All observations were conducted during Club 1050’s mandatory quiet homework time, which runs from 4-5PM every afternoon. As part of Club 1050’s shift to focus primarily on homework, all students are expected to complete their homework during the course of the afternoon. If homework is completed within the allotted time frame, then students move onto quiet activities until five. Students who have a heavier workload are expected to work beyond five, to complete their work. Interviews Interviews were conducted with Erin, the director of Club 1050 and three of the four counselors who work with my targeted population. These interviews lasted approximately 30 minutes each. Focus Group A focus group with the 5 participants in the targeted age group was conducted following all of my observations. This focus group followed a prepared interview and lasted approximately 30 minutes. All information and data recorded during the observations and interviews were bracketed and coded in accordance to the analysis procedures outlined in class.
Staff Profiles Erin Jordanne “My goal is to have a room in the building named after me.” -Jordanne 22 years old, college senior majoring in education. Group services director at the JCC. Was a student in Homework Plus until 8th grade, and started working at the JCC in 11th grade as a camp counselor. 21 years old, college senior majoring in Modern Languages and Elementary Education. Head tutor and assistant director of Club 1050. Has been working at the JCC for 7 years.
Staff Profiles Scott Jessica “You have to want to do it. If you don’t want to, you won’t have an effect.” -Scott 26 years old, BA in History and certified teacher. Has been working at the JCC for 8 years, currently works for Club 1050 and coaches football for the JCC. 22 years old, BA in history and certified to teach K-5. Works as head teacher and performs final check on students’ homework. Bayonne native with strong interest in urban education.
Participant Profiles “They’re all good kids. I love them.” -Jordanne Jaime Jade Alyssa An 11 year old 6th grader from Bayonne, she has been coming to Club 1050 since 4th grade. An 11 ½ year old 6th grader from Jersey City, she has been coming to Club 1050 since 3rd grade. An 11 ½ year old 6th grader from Jersey City, she has been coming to Club 1050 since 3rd grade. Lucas Phillip A 13 year old 7th grader from Bayonne, he has been coming to Club 1050 since 1st grade. An 11 ½ year old 6th grader from Jersey City, he has been coming to Club 1050 since 3rd grade.
Findings and Analysis 1) Participation in Club 1050 has positively impacted students’ academic performance and pride in their knowledge and skills. Jade: Yes, it does. Because I used to get bad grades, but now that we have a teacher everything changed for me and I’m getting good grades. Lucas, a strong math student, joked that although the counselors helped him understand other subjects, he was the one helping them understand math. Alyssa said that when she is at home and not at Club 1050, she puts off all of her work because there are so many distractions around her. Being at Club 1050, she is able to focus more on her work.
Findings and Analysis 2) Students and counselors have an excellent relationship, with an easy rapport. When asked about their favorite counselor, Jade quickly answered Jordanne. “Because, like, we can tell her things. … we’re tight.” She later adds that Jordanne has nicknames for all of them. Two girls shoot mischievous glances across the room at each other, through their Kanye West shades. They giggle and go back to their homework, but are interrupted by Jessica, the certified teacher in the room. She seems like she’ll reprimand them for fooling around, but first she asks to try the glasses on. They all laugh before she tells them to get back to work. “Scott, he’s funny. And I talk to him a lot. And we have this thing where we write our homework on a piece of paper, so they don’t have to look and a planner. And sometimes he writes little notes on our papers.” -Alyssa
Findings and Analysis 3) The low staff turnover rate is key to the program’s success. During my interview with Erin, she commented that parents trust the program because they know the staff and how they work. She also said that many parents will request certain counselors to work with their children. “The staff is like my family. I love working with all of them.” -Jordanne Of the four staff members interviewed, only one has been working at Club 1050 for less than seven years. Both Scott and Jordanne commented on working with the same students for several years and seeing them grow and mature.
Findings and Analysis 4) The positive atmosphere cultivated at Club 1050 increases student’s motivation to complete their work. As Scott walks around the room, checking to see which students need assistance, he offers praise and encouragement to those students whose heads are buried in their books. “I’ve seen a lot of growth in the kids over the years, and see them respond so well to praise and positive reinforcement.” -Jordanne “The staff at other programs isn’t as interactive as we are here. We want to be here, and the kids know that. You need a personality to work with kids, because otherwise it won’t make a difference.” -Scott
Findings and Analysis 5) Both students and staff mentioned the importance of non-homework related activities. “There’s a pretty good balance of structured homework time and the time they get for their specials. Their specials change by day, and I love that they get the chance to do extra stuff. I’m a little jealous, too.” -Jessica “We were waiting, like, so much for the game room. I wasn’t expecting it to be, like, this big. …You were kind of expecting more.” -Jaime Alyssa and Jade both spoke fondly about a previous counselor who would engage them in cooking activities. Although the activity was disbanded because they weren’t keeping the kitchen Kosher, they both seem eager at the possibility of it starting up again. It’s unlikely at this point that it will.
Academic and Theoretical Implications Returning to the literature, there was much positive support for the findings and themes extrapolated from the data. Regarding the importance of a low staff turnover rate, Cross et. al. note that “sites where turnover was higher tended to employ fewer highly-trained staff.” Club 1050 is able to cultivate and employ highly-trained staff members because employees know there is a very low turnover rate. Cross and his fellow researchers further note that “Staff members who were highly educated, well trained, and employed long-term appeared to observers to be more skilled in providing youth services. They appeared better able to establish sound management, create a positive social climate, and provide engaging content.” Within this positive social climate, students have improved attitudes towards their schoolwork. Shernoff and Vandell write that “positive student attitudes about homework have been positively related to homework completion rates and class grades.”
Academic and Theoretical Implications Club 1050 functions, at this point in time, as primarily a homework-based after school program. However, it seems obvious from these observations that there is more benefit from the program than homework help. Students are able to form bonds with their counselors, even if it is not a formal mentoring relationship. This is similar to what Priscilla M.D. Little et. al. observed in After School Programs in the 21st Century: Their Potential and What It Takes to Achieve It: “participation in programs primarily targeted at supporting student academic performance actually can significantly impact social/emotional development.” Leaving the successful components of the current model and taking into consideration the suggestions made by staff and participants (which included adding more staff and ensuring staff is well-versed in the coursework students have), if Club 1050 expanded its programming, it would be a very successful program model for other after-school program.
Limitations of Study and Directions for Future Research Limitations Future Research The aforementioned longitudinal study would be an excellent path for future research for Club 1050. Based on my observations and data reported in the literature, a more formal study on the relationships between counselors and students could yield rich data. Both Shernoff and Vandell and Cross et. al. designed models that measured student engagement in activities, engagement with staff members and the quality of staff; these would be excellent research approaches on which to model further studies. Having the ability to only conduct three observations over a relatively short period of time places a limit on the amount and richness of the data collected. A program such as Club 1050 is an excellent candidate for a longitudinal study on academic and social growth. The timing of my observations was a limitation, as I was working in the beginning of the school year, before most academic growth occurs. Additionally, the small population of students in the desired age bracket might skew my data and analysis.
Works Cited Cross, Amanda Brown et. al. “Implementation Quality and Positive Experiences in After-School Programs.” American Journal of Community Psychology 45 (2010): 370-380. Durlak, J. A., & Weissberg, R. P. The impact of after-school programs that promote personal and social skills. Chicago, IL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. (2007). Little, Priscilla M.D., Christopher Wimer, and Heather B. Weiss. "After School Programs in the 21st Century: Their Potential and What It Takes to Achieve It - Harvard Family Research Project." HFRP Home / HFRP - Harvard Family Research Project. Web. 30 Oct. 2010. Shernoff, David Jordan. “Engagement in After-School Programs as a Predictor of Social Competence and Academic Performance.” American Journal of Community Psychology 45 (2010): 325-337. Shernoff, David Jordan, and Deborah Lowe Vandell. "Engagement in After-school Program Activities: Quality of Experience from the Perspective of Participants." Journal of Youth and Adolescence 36.7 (2007): 891-903.