At-risk Hispanic students' perception of afterschool programs: a new model targeting the needs of English language learners
Galvan, Cynthia Wise
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The purpose of this study was to explore 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) as support systems for at-risk Hispanic youth. Expanding upon previous theories that analyzed afterschool programs and bilingual programs separately, this study sought to understand how 3rd, 4th and 5th grade at-risk Hispanic youth attending the 21st CCLC, Afterschool Centers on Education, perceive the afterschool programs in a small school district in South Texas. The study analyzed five afterschool program constructs pertaining to what literature says are best practices for afterschool programs and bilingual programs inclusive of safety, self-esteem, interactive, and engaging, language, and cultural characteristics. This study found that the children’s general perception of the safety, self-esteem and interactive and engaging characteristics were generally high; however, language and cultural characteristics were generally moderate to low. The results were significant in that quality programs, especially for at-risk Hispanic children who are also English Language Learners, must include language and cultural characteristics. An afterschool program without the five constructs in place most likely will not demonstrate significant gains in behavioral development, and attitude toward school. Other than studies and evaluation reports on effects of afterschool programs on both African American and White students, few studies have focused solely on at-risk Hispanic youth afterschool program characteristics. Studies that have been conducted provide preliminary support for the claim that afterschool programs may promote the academic, social and behavioral adjustment of at-risk Hispanic youth. This study expands on those previous theories and further contributes to understanding how 21st CCLC afterschool programs may influence positive learning outcomes and behavioral development of this population.