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PUSD Clubs Cultivate Learning & Fun

by | May 12, 2018

Maximizing opportunities for students to learn and grow, PUSD elementary schools Abia Judd, Lincoln, and Taylor Hicks, along with Granite Mountain School (grades 5/6), offer after-school clubs with both academic and enrichment focus. Clubs such as Readers Theater, Math Mayhem, and Mad Science give students significant opportunities to increase their reading fluency and comprehension, develop strong math skills, or pursue their interest in science. Enrichment offerings include engaging possibilities like chess, volleyball, creative writing, garden club, author studies, robotics, foreign language, and guitar.

Students in Mad Science after-school club

Taylor Hicks students Quinn and Sadie create hands-on science experiments using everyday materials in the MAD SCIENCE after-school club. Here, teacher and co-club leader Joni Burriss gently places an egg on a tube, set on a plate over a cup of water, in an experiment with inertia. The students hit the paper plate and the egg drops straight down into the water. “At least that was the goal! Messy but fun!” said Burriss.

Clubs at three schools are funded by 21st Century grants, which increase student achievement by providing academic and enrichment clubs before and after school. Lincoln, Taylor Hicks, and Granite Mountain completed extensive grant applications and are funded for five years through 21st Century. Abia Judd clubs are self-funded, supported by a nominal $3 per club meeting fee, with scholarships available through tax credit donations and an Arizona Cardinals grant.

Teachers and staff are paid for the extra time they spend with clubs, but they are happy to take that on because they value the opportunity to help students move forward academically in the more relaxed after-school setting. This spring, on any given afternoon, an average of more than 300 students are enrolled in the after-school programs across these four schools.

Students in Mad Science after-school club

Students feel the excitement in MAD SCIENCE. Pictured left to right: Linda, Cassidy, Jack, and Carter.

PUSD parents appreciate these after-school opportunities. Lincoln parent Caroline Paiano expressed, “Prescott Unified doesn’t have to go to the extra trouble to obtain this grant and find staff and activities for after-school clubs, but we are so grateful they do. Knowing our daughter has fun activities, on site, with people we know and trust, is invaluable.” Jodie Cascone, also a Lincoln parent, agrees. “I love my son’s clubs! His reading and math skills have greatly improved, and he really enjoys his technology club. Having the extended day also helps with our work schedules, so all around I think the whole program is outstanding!”

While parents appreciate the academic focus, students see clubs as fun. Taylor Lowry, 3rd grader at Abia Judd, says, “I love clubs because you get to be creative and you learn how to work with others. I like the ‘Love of Reading Club’ because we are doing a play that is fun! We have to learn how to do puppets and time everything right.”

Students in Imagine It after-school club

How tall can that tower go? Taylor Hicks students in 2nd-4th let their imaginations soar as they create mazes and structures in the IMAGINE IT After School Club. Standing here with their structure are, left to right:, Emory, Damian, Talyn, Mia, and Olesya.

But the reality is that, while they are fun for students, club activities are carefully planned to enhance learning and social skills. In addition to academic benefits—robotics is based on math and science, theater increases reading fluency skills—clubs also involve social interaction, collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

Students in Lego after-school club

It is no surprise that LEGOS CLUB is one of the most popular after-school club offerings at Taylor Hicks Elementary. The four LEGOS clubs available—one at each grade level—fill up quickly. These first grade students building Lego creations are, left to right: Linda , Serenity, and Cruz.

When it comes to developing the whole child, after-school clubs help round out the excellent education provided in classrooms and support PUSD’s mission: EVERY CHILD, EVERY DAY. Good work, PUSD!

Students in after-school clubs

Second graders from Mrs. Brown’s Geography Club at Lincoln Elementary taught small groups in Mrs. Dillon’s K-2 Lego Club about Italy’s Trevi Fountain, then worked with their group to recreate the landmark with legos. These students proudly share  their creation! Left to right: Devan, Michael, Paul, Sterling, and Geddy.

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