Washington County nonprofit launches after-school program at Salem Avenue Elementary

Students at Salem Avenue Elementary School in Hagerstown have a new after-school program designed to enrich their lives through learning, leadership development, health and lots of fun.

OnTrack Washington County in October began After the Bell, a program for third, fourth and fifth graders at Salem Avenue Elementary.

OnTrack Washington County strives to improve and promote the educational lives of children, from cradle to career, its website states. They help children succeed in school and in life, regardless of race, ethnicity, zip code or circumstances.

Faith Huntzberry, left, staff member of “After the Bell,” an after-school program at Salem Avenue Elementary School, asks students to line up for their scheduled activity. Photo by Colleen McGrath/Herald-Mail.

Christina Williams, acting director of strategic initiatives at OnTrack, said she was “thrilled” to have had several nonprofits – Girls Inc., the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County and the YMCA of Hagerstown – to help OnTrack and Washington County Public Schools. bring the program to Salem Avenue.

“OnTrack is thrilled to be part of the Salem Avenue Elementary School Educational Collaborative,” Williams said in an email. “All of these partners share a common goal, to support, enhance, enrich and empower our young people.”

Salem Avenue Elementary School fourth-grade student Haylee Peterson plays a game of dodgeball as part of

Salem Avenue Elementary School fourth-grader Haylee Peterson plays dodgeball as part of “After the Bell,” an after-school program at Salem Avenue Elementary in Hagerstown. Photo by Colleen McGrath/Herald-Mail.

Maria Rubeling, CEO of the local YMCA, said talks to bring the program to Salem began nearly a year ago.

Rubeling said After the Bell is unrelated to the after-school child care program the YMCA runs in Salem and other Washington County schools.

“(After the bell) is more defined,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for kids to expand their enrichment and learning. It gives kids the extra enrichment they need.”

Addie Nardi, CEO and executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County, said she loves the collaboration among nonprofits to bring the program together.

“We have a staff member there…we work with the school, and we all bring a bit of flavor from our individual organizations to the (program),” she said. “It’s a good showcase of how we work together.”

There are 12 to 15 staff members at Salem Avenue Elementary and the various nonprofits supervising 35 students.

The program runs from 3:40 p.m. to 5:35 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. A meal is offered, as well as door prizes and bus transportation home if a child needs it.

The program is free for students and is funded by a $30,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation to OnTrack, Williams said in an interview.

After Bell’s activities focus on health, wellness, nutrition, yoga, tutoring, leadership development, academic enrichment, literacy, sports, games, social learning and emotional.

“There are different focus groups,” Williams said.

Imari Myers, a fifth-grade student at Salem Avenue Elementary School, participates in yoga during "After the Bell"  an after-school program at Salem Avenue Elementary in Hagerstown.  Photo by Colleen McGrath/Herald-Mail.

Imari Myers, a fifth-grade student at Salem Avenue Elementary School, participates in yoga during “After the Bell,” an after-school program at Salem Avenue Elementary in Hagerstown. Photo by Colleen McGrath/Herald-Mail.

At the end of each session, the students organize demonstrations and special performances.

“They’re showing their families what they’ve learned,” Williams said.

The next session begins in January and ends in March. The next session runs from March to May.

For more information, call 240-397-8047 or email gianndom@wcps.k12.md.us.

Liam Russell, a fourth-grade student at Salem Avenue Elementary School, participates in yoga during "After the Bell"  an after-school program at Salem Avenue Elementary in Hagerstown.  Photo by Colleen McGrath/Herald-Mail.

Liam Russell, a fourth-grade student at Salem Avenue Elementary, participates in yoga during “After the Bell,” an after-school program at Salem Avenue Elementary in Hagerstown. Photo by Colleen McGrath/Herald-Mail.

Sherry Greenfield is the Education Reporter, covering Washington County Public Schools and the Washington County Board of Education. Follow Sherry on Twitter at Sheina2018 or Instagram at beckmangreenfield.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Nonprofit OnTrack launches after-school program at Salem Elementary