YouthPower365’s afterschool programming in all Eagle County public schools, increasing teacher pay |

YouthPower365’s afterschool programming in all Eagle County public schools, increasing teacher pay

Daily staff report
Melissa Ortega is one of 4,000 Eagle County students participating in the Vail Valley Foundation's afterschool academic and enrichment programs, Power Hours.
Special to the daily |

VAIL — One of the nation’s most successful after-school programs is now in every Eagle County public school.

YouthPower365’s PwrHrs, a program of the Vail Valley Foundation, opened at Eagle’s Brush Creek Elementary School, completing the roll-out plan.

The PwrHrs program serves more than 4,000 Eagle County kids. In a school district with more than 7,000 students, however, demand is beyond what the organization is currently able to offer, said Melisa Rewold-Thuon, executive director of YouthPower365.

“Our vision is to allow every child in Eagle County access to academic improvement,” Rewold-Thuon said. “The addition of Brush Creek Elementary is a milestone for us — but we are working hard with our community to help bring this important education enrichment programming to every child, every day.”

By the way, YouthPower365’s mission is to serve “Every Child, Every Day,” hence the name.

Stopping the summer slide

The after-school gap and summer slide have a cumulative negative impact on students of all proficiency levels, according to the Afterschool Alliance. Nationally, more than 15 million school-age children — 26 percent — are without parental supervision or programming after school.

Those after-school hours are also the peak times for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and an increased risk of teen pregnancy, says data from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.

Of the nation’s 8.4 million K-12 children, only 15 percent participate in after-school programs. However, an additional 18.5 million would participate if a quality program were available in their community, reports the Afterschool Alliance.

powerful Programs

After a four-week summer PwrHrs program, 65 percent of participants experienced growth in their literacy scores and 71 percent of experienced growth in their math scores.

The program has also shown effectiveness in comparison to other after-school programs. At Avon Elementary, PwrHrs helped raise reading proficiency from 20 to 50 percent in the first year. A state-funded tutoring program then took over the programming, and proficiency dropped back to 40 percent. Power Hours re-entered the school and proficiency increased to more than 70 percent. That earned Avon Elementary honors as a National Blue Ribbon School.

Paying teachers

Last year, Eagle County public school teachers earned an average of $49,060 a year. Colorado Department of Education data says that’s short of the Colorado average of $50,039, and well shy of Pitkin County’s $56,776 (Aspen), San Miguel’s $55,856 (Telluride), Boulder’s $71,574 and Summit County’s $55,711.

YouthPower365 pays teachers who work in the organization’s after-school or summer programs. The organization announced it will increase teacher pay by 15 percent.

YouthPower365’s Rewold-Thuon said public school teachers are a big part of the reason the public-private partnership works so well.

“Our partnership with YouthPower365 has provided a great benefit to our students during that critical after-school time period,” said Jason Glass, Eagle County Schools superintendent.

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