Photo Cortesy of LAUSD - Beyond the Bell

Summer as a season has not ended. But the summer break from school has ended for many students, who either have or are set to return to school.

And there may be parents and guardians wondering what kind of activities may be available for their kids once school is over for the day — especially with the weather still warm and sunshine still bright.

All elementary and middle schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have free activities and programs for students primarily through the Beyond The Bell program, activities that are available up to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, the entire school year.

Meaning boys and girls from grades K-12 can continue to stay within the safe environment of their campus after school if necessary.

According to Beyond The Bell, more than 200,000 students participate in one or more of the 1,700 different after school programs made possible through state, federal and private funding.

“We have 1-2 adult coaches for every 20 kids (up to 83) on every elementary school site, and 2-3 adult coaches at our middle school sites,” said Executive Director Alvaro Cortes. “We contract with 37 community organizations to assist us in providing the (state-funded) after school program at the elementary and middle school level (with) organizations like Woodcraft Rangers, LA’s Best, arc, Mpact, Boys and Girls Club, Star, LACER, Youth Development Program, etc.” 

They include Extended Learning Programs, Outdoor and Environmental Education, sports, and music and entertainment.

There is also time set aside to complete homework, and a supper meal is provided.

Among the activities for elementary students are robotics, cyber security, various styles of dance, arts, and music. Sports can include flag football, soccer, basketball and softball.

“The nice  part — we’re able to do citywide team sports championships in the middle and elementary schools,” Cortes said.

Some of the elementary school programming is better known as Ready-Set-Go! and Youth Services. Middle school activities include the LA ’84 Foundation grants and Youth Services Plus. 

The after school programs “are pretty well attended here,” said Pacomia Middle School Principal Simer Garcha. “Students are doing cheerleading, dance, sports and things that build teamwork. It is a safe place for kids to be in, and it’s been helpful for our working parents.”

Principal Julie Maravilla of Sylmar Elementary said that in addition to sports, arts and science fairs have also proven to be popular with there students.

“There were several arts people who came last year, and offered hip hop dancing and drum circles,” Maravilla said. “Every year it’s a little different.”

Cortes said students in addition at 80 LAUSD high schools can take advantage of after school programming supported by the federal 21st Century Funding. Those activities include the academic decathlon, the All District Honor Marching Band, Students Run LA (which trains boys and girls to run in and complete the 26.2 mile Los Angeles Marathon in March), and Challenge LA, where student teams address civic issues by creating and implementing solutions.

 Beyond The Bell was established 15 years ago, although the district has provided after school activities before that,” Cortes said.

For more information about Beyond The Bell and after school programs, visit their website: www.btb.lausd.net.

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