City officials are working to develop a network of after-school programs for kids in middle school, and public planning is due to be kicked off at a meeting today.
The “leadership council” for the new Nashville Afterschool Zone Alliance, a project initiated by the Mayor’s Office, meets for the first time today. The group is chaired by Mayor Karl Dean, and Director of Schools Jesse Register is vice chair.
According to information from the Mayor’s Office, about 10 percent of Nashville’s 21,000 middle school students participated last year in formal after-school activities. A pilot program supported by private donations to Dean’s Education First fund started up earlier this school year, providing programming for small groups of kids at Cameron and Wright middle schools. Mayor’s Office staff member Candy Markman has led development of the pilot program.
Now, with a $400,000 appropriation in this year’s Metro operating budget, NAZA is working to create and oversee six after-school geographic zones in the Metro area. The program will focus on serving about 250 students in East Nashville’s Stratford and Maplewood clusters, according to information from the Mayor’s Office.
Programs developed through the effort are intended to incorporate existing resources, including transportation, faculty and staff. The goal for the northeast zone is to double the number of students currently participating in structured afterschool programs from 250 to 500.
NAZA meets today at 3:30 p.m. at the Mayor’s Media Conference Room at the Metro Courthouse.