Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the results of an independent study on the effectiveness of LA’s BEST, the largest non-profit elementary after school program in California.
“This UCLA study confirms that a student who attends LA’s BEST in elementary school is more likely to go on to middle school to get higher grades, have stronger math skills, and be better prepared for standardized tests,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “I’m excited that we are expanding the program to seven new sites so that more students across our City have quality educational options during and after school.”
Since the hours between 3 pm and 6 pm are often considered the riskiest time for school-age children, LA’s BEST seeks to provide a safe haven for at-risk students. The program expanded to 7 new locations this year and now serves over 28,000 kids at 186 elementary school sites in neighborhoods most vulnerable to gangs, drugs, crime and at schools with the lowest student test scores.
“When educators partner with the community in after school programs, kids flourish both inside and outside the classroom,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “I have seen first-hand how these programs support and build on the work of our teachers. After school programs of the quality of LA’s BEST are an important piece of public school reform.”
The latest independent evaluation of LA’s BEST by the Center for Research on Evaluation, Student Standards and Testing at UCLA (CRESST) analyzed data from student GPAs, standardized test scores, and course taking patterns in middle school, and included a comparison between students who had participated in LA’s BEST in elementary school, and those who had not.
The UCLA CRESST study concluded:
• LA’s BEST students demonstrated gains in math, language arts, science and history in middle school.
• The longer students attended LA’s BEST, the better their results in middle school.
• LA’s BEST participants demonstrated higher California Standardized Test (CST) scores in general math and algebra.
• LA’s BEST participants are more likely to take algebra in 8th grade
LA’s BEST also expanded to seven new sites this year at Alta California (Panorama City), Andres and Maria Cardenas (Van Nuys), Dolores Huerta Elementary (South Los Angeles), Estrella Elementary (South Los Angeles), Julie Korenstein (North Hollywood), Owen Knox (Watts), and Stanley Mosk (Winnetka).
Since the Mayor took office, he has supported the expansion of the LA’s BEST program by 57 sites. As Speaker of the Assembly, he also helped LA’s BEST secure the first 100 million dollars for the program in 1998.