EDP provides safe, nurturing environment after school day ends
For parents of young school children, there is always the question of where to send children between the end of school and the end of the work day. Parents have a range of choices including day care centers and in-home daycares, but Pflugerville ISD parents have a third choice: the Pflugerville ISD Extended Day Program (EDP).
The EDP is available at all 19 elementary campuses and offers a safe and secure environment for students in grades K-5. This district-based program allows for seamless transition from the end of the instructional day until 6:30 p.m.
The district recently completed the detailed process to become a licensed childcare provider, which, in addition to meeting the high standards of childcare regulations, allows PISD to accept payment from flexible spending accounts as well as government subsidies such as Workforce Solution in Travis and Williamson counties.
“By earning the childcare license, the district is really going to a higher standard and committing to uphold the standards set by the state,” Christie Olivarez, assistant director of student services said. “We currently have roughly 1,100 students in the program and we still have spaces open at various campuses. Being a licensed childcare provider will allow us to help our parents who qualify for government assistance.”
The district began the licensing process a year ago, working to ensure it met the various state requirements such as 30 square feet of space per child and creating a list of example activities. Additionally, the district’s requirements are to have campus employees who have degrees or a mix of educational and childcare experience. The EDP staff is what makes the program so successful, Director of Student Services Emily Beaird said.
“Our employees are full-time employees and we have had very little turnover since we began the Extended Day Program two years ago,” Beaird said. “We offer weekly professional development for the site directors during which they talk about the program and curriculum.”
When the district began its EDP several years ago, district staff looked at other districts providing similar programs such as Georgetown ISD and Fort Bend ISD in the Houston area. PISD staff visited the programs and crafted PISD’s program based on what they learned from visits and current childcare research on afterschool childcare. Jeremy Martorell, EDP licensing specialist, said the process of becoming licensed was a long one which came with both internal and external site visits and assessments.
“Before state examiners ever came out, we travelled to every location to ensure that all the schools are following all the standards,” Martorell said. “Each visit takes about two hours to complete, but it lets our directors know how they are doing and what they still need to work on.”
Having a full-time staff is another key to the success of the program. Rather than having part-time staff members who report to work at the end of the school day, EDP employees are on campus by 11 a.m. and spend several hours within the school setting and with their colleagues.
“Our employees really work hand-in-hand with the campus and just by being a part of the faculty and the school, they are much more connected to the campus,” Martorell said. “Plus, if any students need tutorials or to speak with a teacher after school, the teachers are available in their classrooms and the students can go get help and come right back to their afterschool program.”
Parents of students in the program have also noticed the benefit of having a quality afterschool program available on their child’s campus. Charla Carrington, parent of a kindergarten student at Copperfield Elementary, said she feels the learning environment and care provided is commendable.
“I get excited when I see the calendar of monthly activities and lesson plans that are planned for the students and I appreciate the thought that goes into preparing the curriculum for the students as well as the time allotted for my daughter to work on her homework assignments,” Carrington said. “As a working parent, I really appreciate the unique opportunity of care that PISD is providing to our children.”
For more information on the Pflugerville ISD Extended Day Program or to register a student, call 512-594-0148 or e-mail email@example.com.