It’s 3:30 pm on a Monday when I walk into a classroom of 12 middle school students. They don’t see me at first. I just stand and wait in the front of the classroom observing them walk around excitedly telling each other about their day. One of them notices me and happily yells,“Lexy!” Soon after, I hear a rippling effect of “Hi, Lexy,” “Yay, Lexy is here!” “Lexy, did you notice my new shirt?” This is what I live for.
These students don’t really know what I do for their after-school literacy program. They know that I help them get snacks and take field trips; that’s probably why they love me so much! But what I do is much more complicated. In order to have a successful after-school program, there are a lot of components and people involved. We have our program director, actor-teachers, funders, students, and then there is me, the Program Manager.
My job is mostly behind the scenes. I track a broad range of data, including student’s state exam scores, report card grades, the amount of work submitted, the number of hours per week are students attend the program, and how many students overall are participating – all to ensure CAT is meeting our contract requirements for attendance and academic outcomes for literacy and to understand how the students and our program are progressing throughout the school year.
I take all of this data and make sure to disseminate it to the right people at the right time. Whether helping actor-teachers incorporate assessment results into developing curriculum objectives or calling a student’s parent to talk about the child’s level of attendance, I use all of this data to make sure that CAT’s after-school literacy program is running as efficiently and effectively as possible. It’s very time consuming and detailed work, but I truly love it.
The greatest part of my job is seeing the impact. Whenever I visit our students and see them in action, they move me. Their brilliance, creativity, and excitement for the work that they do gives me hope for this next generation. And for selfish reasons, it helps me feel fulfilled in knowing that I did my part in helping provide a fun, engaging, after-school program where students are truly learning and growing.