The city’s after-school program for elementary and middle schoolers remains one of the best in Palm Beach County, according to the group that annually evaluates those programs.
“The City of Greenacres … has consistently demonstrated some of the highest-quality practices in the past five years,” said Tammy Greer, director of communications and resource development for Prime Time Palm Beach County.
Seven years ago, Prime Time, along with Family Central and the Children Services of Palm Beach County, launched the Afterschool Quality Improvement System to evaluate after-school and camp programs.
Evaluators, among other things, assess a program’s policies, its environment and the level of engagement from students.
Greer said 121 after-school programs are enrolled in the system.
Prime Time said its goal is to develop after-school programs where youths feel safe and empowered and have opportunities to make choices based on their needs.
“They don’t just want to see kids with a coloring sheet and us saying, ‘Color between the lines,’ ” said Jowie Mohammed, the city’s youth programs supervisor. “They want to see activities that really push kids to be creative.”
Programs earns scores that range from 1 (the lowest) to 5 (the highest). The city’s elementary program received a 4.63 while its middle school program was given a 4.60, down slightly from last year when the programs earned 4.75 and 4.76, respectively.
“It was a little lower because one of the assessment tools they used to evaluate the program was changed slightly,” Mohammed said.
Leisure Services Director Michele Thompson said the program’s employees are observed and scored on six areas — safe environment, supportive environment, interaction, engagement, policies-procedures and expectations of youths and the city’s staff.
Mohammed said each program was assessed three times from Oct. 1 -9, with evaluators seeing how the city’s staff interacts with the kids.
C.A.R.E., the city’s after-school program for elementary students, is open to 120 kids while Cool Zone, the middle school program, is available for 30. Both programs have field trips, FCAT tutoring, athletics and civic education.
“We try to find activities that all of our kids would be interested in,” Mohammed said.
As for the high marks, Mohammed said the city is proud of them.
“It just means we have a quality program,” he said.