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After-school success story

A 1-year-old enrichment program in Ashland elementary schools needs help. We’re confident this community will step up once again to make it happen.

In its first year, the After-School Enrichment Program has offered second- through fifth-graders the opportunity to explore science, art, music and language for an hour after school three days a week. Three six-week courses not available in the standard curriculum are offered free to students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches because of their family income level. Other students pay $20 per course.

The program was funded for its first year by the Ashland Schools Foundation, but the program ran a deficit, and the foundation needs to raise $50,000 by June 20 to bring the program back next year.

This is exactly the kind of enrichment program that makes Ashland schools exceptional, and that’s reason enough to continue it. But it also provides experience students wouldn’t otherwise have access to until they reach middle school, where band, dedicated science courses are integrated into the school day and sports and band are available.

In addition, the ASEP benefits low-income families and is affordable to all, thanks to the foundation’s support. Organizers say the first year was a success, with enrollment in the spring increasing dramatically.

Donations to the fund-raiser can be made at ashlandschoolsfoundation.org, by mailing a check to Ashland Schools Foundation, 100 Walker Ave., Ashland, OR 97520, or call 541-482-8197. If the goal of $50,000 isn’t reached by June 20, donations will be returned.