Jack PAC continues to provide safe after school activities for elementary age ch
It is this partnership paired with the resource center’s mascot–jacks that inspired the creative name for the program. The acronym PAC stands for partners in after school collaboration.
The initial program was started last spring late in the 2006-07 school year, but this “trial” run gave staff an opportunity to work through problems and get everything on track so they were better prepared for the 2007-08 school year. In addition, Elizabeth Krier, executive director of the WFRC and administrator/CEO of Jack PAC, attended a week-long conference in Chico this summer with three staff members.
The conference, “Leading the Frontier,” provided hands-on workshops for leaders and instructors participating in after school programs. Melissa Huntsman, coordinator of children’s programs for the WFRC, as well as Sheila Stevens and Robin Chapin, Jack PAC instructors, participated in the training.
“We picked different classes such as physical activities, arts and crafts, and science and math so we could get ideas to take back to our program, like math games,” explained Krier.
As a result Jack PAC has several new physical education activities designed to excite the non-athletic student as well as those who love sports. PE is one of the mandated activities in the after school program along with scheduled time for homework.
There are several clubs as well that give children a choice of activities based on their talents and interests. Often the clubs are offered in partnership with community members. Currently Peggy Fulder provides Yoga instruction, Bix Blaufuss teaches drumming, Nick Krier provides a technology link with the use of Lego Mindstorm products and Melinda Duerksen heads up a journalism and photography club.
There is also a Beading Club, Cooking Club, Painting Club and a Kid’s Story Club headed by Jack PAC staff.
Krier oversees Friday Night Live for Kids, which is a community service club. The recent Moonlight Fire provided opportunities for a couple of projects for the children involved in this club. They wrote letters to the firefighters based at the Moonlight Fire camp in Westwood and also posted signs throughout the area to thank them for their work. Future projects will include a canned food drive to start a food closet at the WFRC.
The after school program is not meant to be an extension of the school day. While there are certain mandated classes the activities are presented in an exciting, enthusiastic atmosphere. The clubs not only provide choice but also help students uncover interests they may not have known they had, says Krier.
“We are trying to give them something that is an enrichment” of their actual school time, explains Krier.
Jack PAC is free to students in kindergarten through seventh-grade attending school in the Westwood Unified School District and is designed as an enrichment program for all children. It is not income based nor only for those children who do not have family at home. However parents or guardians are asked to complete an enrollment form with medical and insurance information and any special instructions for staff.
Krier said she is in the process of working on a fee schedule for children who are not enrolled in the school district but attend a private school or are home schooled.
Although the after school program ends at 6 p.m. there is an early release policy. This policy makes it possible for children to enroll in Jack PAC and take part in other programs such as Little League, Girl Scouts or Christian youth groups that meet in the afternoon.
All the staff from the prior school year returned to the program. That includes Stevens and Chapin as well as Charlie Marland and Kandis Powell. In addition Jennifer Vialpando came on board this year. Students are divided into groups according to grade levels with staff assigned to each group.
Krier said the Lassen County Office of Education is working on a federal grant to obtain more funding for the after school programs throughout the county.
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