Afterschool in Action: How Innovative Afterschool Programs Address Critical Issues Facing Middle School Youth
"Over the last four years, the Afterschool Alliance and MetLife Foundation have worked together to identify exemplary, and often lesser-known afterschool programs across the nation. For the past two years, efforts have focused on finding innovative afterschool programs serving middle school students. This focus was developed to address the need for new and innovative ways to engage adolescents during a crucial juncture in their lives, when they are still developing as both students and individuals.
Whereas high school students are understood as teenagers with a desire for more independence and advanced learning and elementary schoolers are recognized as budding learners requiring a nurturing environment, middle schoolers are caught somewhere in between. They are growing in independence yet still not fully mature enough to make all decisions for themselves. They are ardent and curious students but also have divergent interests that are high school, while others still yearn for the comfort of elementary school. The question beckons: How do you deal with a population of students who are rapidly growing as individuals but are still unsure of their identity among peers and their strengths in the classroom?"