April 24, 2013 01:51 Age: 5 yrs

At AF Brownsville Middle, The End of The School Day is Only the Beginning

Category: News, Home
By: Erin McGonegle

Erin McGonegle is the Director of School Operations at AF Brownsville Middle.

Our teachers never cease to amaze me with their dedication to not only making learning accessible in their classrooms, but also making every moment a fun and challenging learning opportunity. At Achievement First, we are committed to helping our students grow both inside and outside of class.

Since our school day lasts for nearly nine hours, it would be easy to imagine that 4:15 p.m. would be a time reserved for paper grading, lesson planning or just heading home to relax. Instead, teachers at Achievement First see the end of the last class period as the beginning of a different part of the school day.

Every day after school, Achievement First Brownsville Middle’s classrooms are filled. A peek inside our building after school hours reveals a community abuzz with learning. You will see 10 to 15 students in math tutoring with Nora Gannon or Kenyah Koonce, or studying ELA with Natalie Falsgraf. Next door, our school counselor Sam Cortiella is leading a small group in discussing ways to build “Team & Family.” In another room, Principal Keith Brooks is leading “Chess Club.” Nearby, our amazing teacher intern Alex Paulson is leading some of our quietest students in a rousing round of improvisation in “Theater Club.” Around the corner, Sarah Goodis-Orenstein is helping lead the “Newspaper Club,” as students finish this month’s edition. You will hear laughs coming from a small circle of students meeting in Charlene Desanges’ “Girls Club,” and calls of “Objection your honor, hearsay” from the “Legal Lives Club” as students work on their mock trial with Assistant District Attorney Krystyn Tendy. Downstairs, students are sweating to P-90X workout videos in the “Wrestling Club” led by William Silva, our dean of students, and the dance team is perfecting a routine under the direction of dance teacher Megan Goller.

All of this is just one day in the first year of our AF BASE (Brownsville Afterschool Experience) program. Our teachers stay after school to share hobbies and interests that they love, and their enthusiasm is contagious. Our school opened this year with fifth graders, and they are busy, engaged and challenged from 7:15 a.m. until the end of BASE at 5:00 p.m.  At AF Brownsville Middle, character education doesn’t stop when the traditional school day ends. Instead, teachers find more outlets to help their students develop and enjoy diverse opportunities to learn and grow.

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