By Seth Daniel
After an attempt to take after-school and summer programming in-house a few years ago, the Revere Public Schools have abandoned the venture and awarded a contract to the AlphaBEST company to begin programming this summer, and after-school programming next fall.
Supt. Dianne Kelly said after trying to run the after-school programming in-house for several years, the administration and School Committee decided this year that farming it out once again would be best for the kids.
“They have a far superior curriculum and offer a lot of flexibility to parents,” said Kelly. “We think it’s going to be a much better program for our kids…Because they are a national company, they have a lot more resources to and can provide more than we could in our own small system. They have a comprehensive curriculum they can focus on.”
Kelly said a Request for Proposals (RFP) was put out earlier this year, and two companies responded. The two companies were the local For Kids Only (FKO) and the national AlphaBEST company.
Kelly said the schools chose AlphaBEST over FKO for a number of reasons, noting it was the better proposal.
AlphaBEST had to retain the current in-house workers as part of the contract, and Kelly said they actually pay better and have a better benefits package. She hopes that will lead to less turnover in the staffing, which was a common problem with the schools’ in-house program.
She said AlphaBEST also offers professional development programs for its staff as well, something the local school system could not offer.
She said AlphaBEST would begin the transition with the summer program, and sign ups will be starting very soon for that program.
The company will assume responsibility for the after-school program in every elementary school in the fall of 2017.
She said the after-school program curriculum focuses on four main “zones.” They include Technology, Fitness/wellness, Visual/performing arts, and language/literacy.
“I like that they offer flexibility to parents,” she said. “A parent can buy a 10-visit pass so they don’t have to pay to go every day if they don’t want. They can buy the 10-day pass and use it any time of the year. If there’s a complication or they suddenly need to stay late at work, they can just send them to the after-school program and use one of the day passes they purchased.”
Meanwhile, she said they will begin a morning program with AlphaBEST before school, starting at 7 a.m., once the company gets acclimated to the schools.
“That was very appealing to us because if parents need someone to engage kids early so mom or dad can get to work, we have a well-structured program in place for them,” she said.
AlphaBEST is based in Texas, but operates in 12 states. They have operated in the Malden Public Schools for the past two years.