One way to make your after school programs really successful is to work with the school district to setup a bus stop on program days. You will need support from some key people including your director, media specialist, principal and superintendent.
Once you’re in agreement, there are a few steps to setup to make the collaboration seamless:
Make registration required. Like anything in its beginning stages, you will need some time for this to work. It took a full year before all of my families to start using Eventbrite. (I blogged about my tricks and the pros of this free service here. I always ask for the following information: Parent Name, Child Name, Phone, Email, Bus Transportation Needed. I also always include a waiver with the unattended children’s policy.)
Email the school a list of students who require bus transportation so they know how many to expect. (In Eventbrite you can setup custom questions to ask participants.)
The school will send you an email each program day with a list of students getting off the bus for that particular day. Just because children signed up for the program, doesn’t necessarily mean they will be getting off the bus. They maybe sick, they may have a doctor’s appointment, a sports meeting may have come up. There are lots of variables.
Wait at the bus stop and use the newly emailed Bus List as an attendance sheet. Do a roll call as the children get off the bus. If there are any discrepancies, notify the school immediately.
Take the children inside and call everyone into your program space.
Take attendance for all children before you begin your program for children. (There will be children who come with their parents or friends.) Again, I download the list of registrants into Excel from Eventbrite. I add columns of each date and take attendance at the beginning of each program. This took a little time to iron out since the children were not used to it. But they caught on quickly, especially since they do this in school on a regular basis.
Now you have a list of children who are with you. This will come in handy if there happens to be an emergency in the building. If you have to evacuate the building for any reason, you now have a list of children and their emergency contact numbers!
This system has worked for the past few years and is amazing! I now have a list of families who regularly come to the library. I can notify the lists of program cancellations due to weather or illness. I can remind families of library closings for holidays. I always have contact information for children if needed. (You never know when a child will get sick!) Best of all, the families in our community see the public library and school district working together for the benefit of their children. It’s a win-win!
What tips do you have for streamlining after school programs?