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Volume 21, Number 2
March/April 2005

Reinforcement, Richness, and Relationships

The Three R’s of One Model Afterschool Program


Three well-scrubbed eighth graders sit around a conference table at the Richard J. Murphy School in Boston and politely explain why they come to Prime Time, the Murphy’s afterschool program: homework help.

“My parents can’t really help me; the work is new for them,” says Gerald. If he couldn’t go to Prime Time, he adds, “I’d be frustrated at home. It would be difficult for me to do my work.”

Nick agrees: “All the teachers stay, so if you don’t understand the assignment, you can go talk to the teacher that assigned it.”

Stephanie says that if she went home to do homework she’d experience a lot more computer crashes, and she wouldn’t have the library nearby.

But is homework help the real reason these students come to Prime Time?

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


For Further Information

For Further Information

C.L. Gayl. "After-School Programs: Expanding Access and Ensuring Quality." Washington, DC: Progressive Policy Institute Policy Report, July 2004.

R. Halpern. Making Play Work: The Promise of After-School Programs for Low-Income Children. New York: Teachers College Press, 2003.

T. Kane. "The Impact of After-School Programs." New York: William T. Grant Foundation, January 2004.

B.M. Miller. "Critical Hours: Afterschool Program and Educational Success." Quincy, MA: Nellie Mae Education Foundation, May 2003.

E.R. Reisner, R.N. White, C.A. Russell, and J. Birmingham. "Building Quality, Scale, and Effectiveness in After-School Programs." Washington, DC: Policy Studies Associates, Inc., November 2, 2004.