Community Partnerships Help Bring More Afterschool Care to Families

(Jackson, Wyo.) - Teton County families will have more choices for supervised afterschool care for their children this upcoming school year thanks to a coordinated effort by community organizations to help families struggling to find affordable options. The new, coordinated effort will offer an additional 89 spaces for students to enroll in afterschool programs. Partners include the Parks and Recreation Department, Jackson Hole Children’s Museum, Teton Literacy Center, Teton County School District, Teton Science Schools and Teton County Library. These organizations began meeting in 2015 as a subcommittee of Systems of Education, a community effort to coordinate the valley’s educational resources. “For the past year, we have been working together to address the problem of limited space in afterschool programs and that partnership has allowed us to increase the number of children we will be able to serve in the upcoming school year,” said Andy Fleck, Recreation Program Manager for Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation Department. In the fall of 2015, the partner organizations conducted a study that identified community needs for afterschool programming. “The study shows that parents are struggling to find affordable afterschool care and transportation to and from afterschool programs,” said Isabel Zumel, Assistant Director at Teton County Library. Partnering organizations are responding with enrichment opportunities for children after school. As part of that coordinated effort, Parks & Recreation secured a $40,000 grant from the Recreation District to fund four full-time AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps members will focus on integrating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) literacy initiatives in afterschool programs. The AmeriCorps members will be paired with Jackson Hole High School student interns to provide staff to expand afterschool programs at Parks & Recreation Kids and Colter Clubs, the Children’s Museum and Teton Literacy Center. The AmeriCorps members will be housed at the Teton Science Schools’ Jackson Campus with support from Serve Wyoming. “Teton Science Schools is excited to partner with the community leaders in Systems of Education and Serve Wyoming to find creative solutions to the critical community needs of high quality afterschool programming, increasing scientific literacy and housing for seasonal workers. This collaboration leverages the strengths of multiple community organizations to provide expanded school services for families and youth in Jackson Hole,” said Joe Petrick, Vice President of Field Education at Teton Science Schools. Likewise, Teton Literacy Center Executive Director Laura West Soltau said her organization, which begins accepting applications July 21, is excited to expand services through this collaboration. “Our wait list has continued to climb over the past few years, and we are hopeful that these collaborative efforts will help reduce the number of families in need of afterschool support,” Soltau said. “We are grateful to our partners for making this happen.” Teton County School District will be supporting this partnership with space for expanded programming at Jackson and Colter Elementary Schools. *Save the Date: Afterschool Registration* *Parks & Recreation Dept. Kids Club & Colter Club* Parks & Recreation is changing registration to monthly sign-ups to ensure as many children as possible may be served. Previously, many parents registered on a yearly basis, but clubs experienced a large number of withdrawals that led to unfilled spaces and put an added burden on staff. Monthly sign-up begins Aug. 23 for September Kids Clubs (K-2nd Grade). Colter Clubs (3rd-5th Grade) will remain the same, offering 6-8 week sessions. Registration for Colter Club Session 1 begins Aug. 31. For a full listing of registration dates, visit *Teton Literacy Center* Teton Literacy Center will be continuing their afterschool clubs during the school year for Grades K-5th and Middle School clubs in collaboration with Parks & Recreation. Applications will be accepted July 21 through Aug. 11 at and at the center’s office, 1715 High School Road, #260, Jackson. Programs run Sept. 12 to Dec. 22. The center also offers afterschool literacy tutoring for Grades K-12th. Parents interested in the afterschool tutoring option are encouraged to speak with their child’s teacher. *Jackson Hole Children’s Museum* The Children's Museum, in collaboration with Parks & Recreation, will be doubling their afterschool offerings for K-5th Grade students during the 2016-2017 school year. Information about these integrated arts, science and engineering programs will be available Aug. 1 on the Children Museum’s website Registration will begin Aug. 31 through the Parks & Recreation website . *Teton County Library* The Library Policy for Children will be changing this fall. As always, parents or caregivers are responsible for the supervision of their children at all times at the library. New with the updated policy, children under 8 must be accompanied by a caregiver, who is at least 12 years of age. Details on the updated policy are available here. The Library is also working on changes to the Youth Wing for the upcoming school year and will release more details in August. *Additional Afterschool Program Information* Teton County Library’s Research Desk is compiling a quick, parent-friendly afterschool listing of programs available in Teton County to share with families and the community in late July. The listing will include important enrollment dates and web links to programs. Once it’s ready, the afterschool listing will be posted on partner websites, including and For more information about this collaborative effort, contact Isabel Zumel, Library Assistant Director,, 733-2164 ext. 101. *Feature Photo: h/t Parks and Recreation Department / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news