THE DOOLEN MIDDLE SCHOOL PILOT PROJECT
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
The Doolen Middle School Pilot Project, a free, two-month after-school program, developed as a collaborative effort between the school and the City of Tucsonís Parks and Recreation Department. The school provided mentoring groups, homework help and a web-page club, among other resources. The Parks and Recreation Department provided a specialist who taught hip-hop dancing, basketball, judo, rollerblading, art and theater. The program was held at a school MIDCO site (MIDCO is a generalized after-school Parks and Recreation program run at numerous sites across Tucson).
The major goal of the project was to increase Doolen studentís participation in the MIDCO program, which had an average of 15- 20 participants. The project was a big success, keeping 40 to 50 teens off the streets each day.
Instead of the usual MIDCO approach of providing 2 staff persons to direct, games, basketball, and generalized arts and crafts, participants in the pilot project got more specialized instruction from Parks and Recreation fee-class instructors. This approach was more interesting and generated a lot of enthusiasm.
2. When was the program created and why?
The project, which ran February-May 1998, was initiated by the middle schoolís principal, who wanted to provide students with more choices to keep them busy and out of trouble after school hours.
3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?
MIDCO students filled out an evaluation at the end of the program. MIDCO enrollment tripled.
4. How is the program financed?
The program was funded by Tucson Unified School District through a special grant to Doolen Middle School to focus on after-school activities.
5. How is the community involved in the program
The program ended with a "Showcase of Studentís Talents" program attended by parents and others from the community.
6. What are the major lessons learned from the program?
Middle school kids, a hard group to entertain, are extremely interested in quality specialized programs -- such as judo and rollerblading -- rather than the typical arts and crafts offerings. Projects and programs that provide extra challenges are a good way to reach out to middle school youth and to boost their self-esteem.
7. Contact person:
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.