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 Clark Middle School Hosts Lights On Afterschool! Part of Largest Rally For Student Safety, Achievement

More than 100 students, local educators, business leaders and parents gathered at Monroe Clark Middle School recently to celebrate the seventh annual Lights On Afterschool! Program a project of the Afterschool Alliance.

The program included several student dance performances from the XDC Hip Hop Squad, XDC Trojan Cheer Squad and a special performance by CREW, "Living a Drug Free Life," that included a unique percussion movement performance. Tina Tran, ASB President at Clark, also received an award for her leadership skills and positive attitude.

The San Diego City Unified campus has incorporated Lights On Afterschool!, a national movement that challenges the community and policy makers to develop effective after-school programs for children. Lights On Afterschool! has a track record of helping keep students safe and raising academic achievement.

Students in the Clark Lights On Afterschool! program participate in the Academic Learning Center program (ALC), which provides a range of opportunities for more than 500 students daily. One-on-one tutoring, music, and other performing arts are offered, and students are required to maintain a 2.0 GPA to participate.

"The ALC program meets all of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements and our students really seem to enjoy and excel in the program, " said Mike George, Vice Principal at Clark.

Lights on Afterschool! also includes the Extended Day Program (XDC), which provides even more activities for students to develop new habits, hidden interests, and responsible behavior. XDC consists of six, four-week sessions throughout the year, providing arts and crafts, cooking activities and athletics.

The XDC program philosophy is Attitude, Academics and Activities, encouraging students to create positive peer relationships and excel in their academics. The XDC program is funded through state and federal grants through the San Diego State University Foundation.

"Our students come from such diverse backgrounds and they're overwhelmingly talented," said Trent Tracey, XDC Program Director. "We work with a lot of students from broken homes, and we stress positive attitudes, to help them maintain positive peer relationships."

On behalf of the San Diego County Board of Education Steven Amick, San Diego County Office of Education presented Monroe Clark Middle with a resolution commending them on the Lights On Afterschool! Program and the positive effect its made on students and the community.

Caridad Sanchez representative from the office of Senator Barbara Boxer presented a Congressional Record Statement to Monroe Clark Middle in support of their efforts to keep students safe and educated.

Angelica Serrato, parent of an XDC student said "As a parent I am very proud and grateful of this school for the quality program XDC offers. I urge all parents to get their children involved in some sort of an afterschool program."

Participation in afterschool programs have increased students test scores, GPA's and overall self confidence The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit organization working towards ensuring that all children have access to an afterschool program by the year 2010.