Career Story: Director Of An Afterschool Program

Director Of An Afterschool Program

Job Title: Director

Type of Company: I work for a school district in Ashland, MA, a suburb about 30 minutes west of Boston.

Education: Bachelor's Degree in Education, Master's Degree i Education

Previous Experience: I worked as a preschool teacher for 2 years in a small, private preschool. I worked as a kindergarten teacher for 2 years in a private daycare/preschool/kindergarten

Job Tasks: I am the director of the extended day program for a suburban public school district. We offer a before school and an afterschool program for children in kindergarten through grade 6. The program primarily serves children whose parents are working, but some children attend the program for enrichment and social purposes.

I am responsible for hiring, training, and supervising the 20+ staff, all enrollment, attendance, tuition, budgeting, ordering supplies, professional development, and program development. Program development includes daily/weekly/monthly planning, bulletin boards, Discovery Centers, field trips, and supplemental programs such as Variety Show and special clubs. It is my job to make sure all staff have the necessary licenses and certifications such as First Aid and CPR. I interface with parents on a daily basis, as well as all school personnel. I also supervise a high school student community service project within the program.

The program operates on a school year schedule and is not in session when school is on vacation or holidays. We are open on most early release days. Part of my job requires that I attend meetings every other month of a group called NEDDs. This stands for Network of Extended Day Directors and is an excellent resource for problem solving and brainstorming.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is that I have 100 percent independence. I hire who I want, plan the curriculum, schedule, etc. that I want, and purchase what I want. I also make my own schedule. Because we are tuition based, we have an excellent budget and are not affected by most of the current economic issues in education.

The toughest part of the job involve those times when I have been short staffed or the time I came up short in the budget due to unexpected increased health insurance costs. Also, occasionally, adequate space can be an issue, but not lately.

Job Tips:
1. Make sure you are as professional as possible at all times. This should include your clothing, your speech, and your actions. It doesn't mean you can't have fun, but maintain your dignity.

2. Advertise what you and your program do well.

3. Learn to communicate effectively and respectfully with everyone in the school from the custodian/secretary/kitchen help up to the superintendent.

Additional Thoughts: This is a fantastic job if you are surrounded by supportive people. Work to get people on board who respect what you do. Don't get discouraged and don't have a chip on your shoulder because you are not teaching in a regular classroom. I make more money than the classroom teachers, and I have more freedom and less aggravation - who wouldn't want that?

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