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County school system opens after-school program signups

EDITOR’S NOTE: Accompanying photo is a file image of TRACKS program activities from a past year; we’ve no doubt participants will see efforts in social distancing and mask wearing in the 2020 session.


Franklin County Schools are now signing up students to participate in the TRACKS After-School Program for the 2020-21 school year.

The program lasts from 3-5:30 p.m. each school day and is open to Pre-K through eighth grade. Participation is free for all Franklin County students.

“We will offer science, technology, engineering, art and math,” said Franklin County 21st Century program director Lisa Gann. “In addition, we offer nutrition, character education and PE. We try to do as many hands-on activities as possible. We believe the students learn better when they are engaged.

“We want to reach the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic child,” Gann added. “We offer homework help and remediation.”

A link to sign up is available on each school website. After parents fill in the basic information, the site coordinator for the particular school will be in contact.

Students may sign up during the school year, but space is limited, with an estimated 75-student limit at each site.

Gann said although the program is beneficial to parents who have to work later than the 3 p.m. school day, it is also beneficial to children, with all the activities they are able to participate in.

“We enroll many children who want the social interaction, need the homework help, benefit from the remediation and just want to participate in the fun activities we do,” Gann said. “Parents enjoy having some fun academic activities for their children to do after school and giving their children some structure.  I believe we give our students an edge to be better in the classroom and life itself.”

Franklin County Extension Coordinator Katernia Cole-Coffey said she and the Extension office staff enjoy working with students each year.

“It is really beneficial for students to have a chance to have hands-on activities,” Cole-Coffey said. “We believe they learn better when they are actually able to do something rather than just hearing about it.”

Gann said this year will look different because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but she and her staff are doing their best to ensure students are safe.

“This year, we will have to keep groups small and individualized,” Gann said. “Students will still have friends to play and laugh with; they will just have the same friends the entire time and smaller groups.”

In addition to keeping the groups smaller, games and other activities will not be allowed to be passed around, and cleaning will occur throughout each session.

“It is going to be different; however, students are going to learn from our behaviors,” Gann said. “We are going to be positive and excited about all we are going to accomplish this year.  We hope the parents will share in this enthusiasm.”