Extended Day programs can be a powerful differentiator among independent schools - and Providence Day's program is a leader in best practices.
That's a finding of a recent six-month research project on Extended Day programs which surveyed more than 500 programs across the country. The project's author interviewed Cecil Stodghill, Providence Day's Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management, and Lynn Mayhew, Director of Extended Day, for an in-depth article published in the most recent issue of Net Assets magazine. The bimonthly publication is produced by the National Business Officers Association, a premier group of independent school business and operational leaders.
Extended Day has evolved from simply supervised play with a snack to an extension of the mission of many schools - including Providence Day, where Extended Day has a dedicated character education coordinator who ensures the program extends the school's curriculum, emphasizing such character traits as integrity, respect, and responsibility.
Stodghill says Extended Day "is a huge differentiator with regard to why parents decide to send their children to our school.... The program also has been key in terms of retention. Over the last eight or nine years, we have averaged 3 percent attrition, in part because of the extended-day program.”
Low employee turnover is also key to the program's success, the article notes. “Because we all love our jobs, we don’t have openings very often,” said Mayhew.
The article goes on to say that Mayhew attributes low turnover and long tenures (14 years on average for full-time staff, five years for part-time staff) to the fact that the team operates as a strong, cohesive unit and the program is closely linked to the school day. For instance, all staff are trained in the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching (an evidence-based approach that focuses on the relationship between academic success and social-emotional learning). Most are assigned to a grade and spend time in the classrooms during the day “so we can get to know the teachers and understand what students’ school-day experience is like,” she said. “Classroom teachers also visit the program to observe in the afternoon.”
Click here for the full article (PDF), written by Betsy MacIver Neiva, Ph.D., director of auxililary programs at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia.