The Bridge Between Learning and Life
This summer, our secondary schools provided opportunities that promoted academic enrichment, college and career readiness, and family engagement through activities that include but are not limited to essay boot camps, SAT prep, math bridge and book clubs. Schools also partnered with their athletic departments to offer skill-building camps to help students prepare for the upcoming athletic season.
Serving families during the summer as well as after school, through the ACE and ASPIRE programs, allows YES Prep to provide services and opportunities that promote families to continuously participate in their student’s education as well as their own. YES Prep is proud of the positive impact these programs have on our families and supporting their holistic growth.
Carnetta Griffin, Manager of ACE Programming, said it best, “ACE is impactful. Being able to see students engaged in summer opportunities in a safe environment is a beautiful thing to see.”
ACE & ASPIRE explained
But what is ACE and ASPIRE? ACE (Afterschool Centers on Education) is a grant-funded program that serves secondary students by providing rigorous out-of-school learning programs to help improve academic performance/grades, school attendance, positive behavior and student engagement. Among the activities offered to students are dance, cooking, chess, robotics, TV broadcasting, sports management, D.I.Y. (Do-It-Yourself), off-season sports, Athletic study hall, college prep and much more.
Through ACE, YES Prep has also offered opportunities for families, including ESL, parenting classes, workshops through Crime Stoppers of Houston, cooking classes with Houston Food Bank and campus cultural heritage celebrations.
ASPIRE (After-School Program for Identity, Relationships, and Enrichment) is a YES-Prep-funded afterschool program intended to serve students in the same manner as ACE. In addition to secondary schools, ASPIRE is also offered at our elementary schools.
Both ACE and ASPIRE students are eligible to access high-quality, engaging and innovative club opportunities under four components: academics, enrichment, college readiness and family engagement. ACE and ASPIRE offer free before and after school programming and summer programming for all elementary and secondary, non-partnership campuses.
Benefits of participating
The ACE and ASPIRE programs complement what students are learning at school. They also provide a safe place for students to participate in high-quality enrichment activities offered by caring YES Prep educators, opportunities they may not be able to experience elsewhere.
Students who participate in ACE and ASPIRE improve their grades, especially in English and math, and have fewer absences, fewer disciplinary incidents, better social and emotional skills and increased grade promotion and graduation. They are also positively impacted by the educators who mentor them academically, socially and emotionally.
ACE and ASPIRE are extensions of the school day so students and families know that they will get the same high-quality programming, experience and results no matter what time of day or whom they interact with. The structure and support YES Prep provides from the administrative office to frontline staff is also a key factor in how our programs differ from other districts. The data involved in making the best-informed decisions is what makes YES Prep after-school programs successful.
Families appreciate the safe environment and secure location in their neighborhood while also being actively engaged in sports, arts, STEM, academic support and fun!
Success through community involvement
ACE and ASPIRE promote community involvement amongst students and families and bring in community organizations that support and promote family education. Community organizations such as the Houston Public Library, the Houston Food Bank, Planned Parenthood and First Home Buyer’s Inc. are just a few partners that have shared free or low-cost resources with families.
ACE Family Engagement Specialist Marcos Virula elaborated, “I see how grateful our YES Prep families are for the program when we bring to their schools the tools they need to better support their children at home. When we can connect them with community partners that provide ESL or GED courses so they can learn to support their children, or food from the Food Bank, or invite a group of immigration lawyers to answer questions, and a group that provides financial literacy or how to save to buy a house, families express their gratitude; that is worth the work.”
For the 2023-2024 school year, YES Prep will be offering YES Prep’s ASPIRE program at all elementary and secondary, non-partnership, schools. Elementary ASPIRE will be offered Monday through Friday from 3 to 5:15 p.m. Secondary ASPIRE will be offered Monday through Thursday from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
ASPIRE will continue to provide opportunities and club activities in academics, enrichment, college readiness and family engagement. We are committed to continuing to support our students and their families inside and outside the classroom.