A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Derek Winebrenner: The case for after-school programming and providing a safe place for students

As community learning center (CLC) coordinator, my role is to support the students of our school district during out-of-school time. CLC programs help bridge the gap between student needs and success outside of the classroom. 

Because out-of-school programming occurs outside the first and last bell of the school day and throughout the summer, CLC coordinators have a unique perspective into the lives and needs of our students. To me, the CLC program serves as a vital and sometimes overlooked area of support many of our students require on a daily basis. The afterschool program provides our students a safe place to make friends, learn, play, eat, and grow.

Derek Winebrenner

For many of our students across the Covington Independent Public School District, coming to school every day with a focused mind ready to learn isn’t always a reality. All too often, our students face life events that would inhibit most adults from having a productive day. 

The CLC offers a multitude of wrap-around services, trying to meet the ever-changing needs of students and help minimize the barriers to their success.

Each day across the district, our afterschool programs fill with students shortly after that last bell rings at the end of the school day. Some of these students come in hungry and sometimes feeling down. Others are full of joy and lots of energy. Some of these students enter academically on-target, while others are not meeting academic benchmarks.

No matter how our students’ days have gone, the afterschool program serves as a reset. There, a group of caring adults are waiting with smiles on their faces, ready to take on whatever the students’ needs—academic, social-emotional, and otherwise—may be. 
The CLC casts its community partner service nets wide daily so that our students are fed, academically on-target, and have a chance to end their day on a positive note. 

After the last bell rings, there are a lot of students with a multitude of needs…and a whole lot of reasons to keep the Lights on Afterschool.  

Derek Winebrenner is CLC Coordinator, Sixth District Elementary School in Covington. This first appeared in the Covington Partners newsletter.

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