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After-school programs seek recognition as more than an after-thought

The elementary school kids shared their “highs and lows” of the school day as they sat pretzel-style in a circle on the gymnasium floor after school Wednesday at Indianapolis Public School 57 in Irvington.

Some squirmed, eager to run around the gym after a full day of following directions. Others listened intently to their peers as they shared their stories: good grades, new crushes, a treat earned because of good behavior, moving seats in class because they were talking too much.

The circle time is a daily ritual in the AYS Inc. after-school program before a little exercise, homework time and that afternoon’s science project: building a bird feeder. It’s one of more than 40 programs offered by the not-for-profit at schools in and around Marion County.

Advocates for after-school programs in Indiana say their programs are vital community resources that are increasingly offering robust academic programs, but they are often thought of as an after-thought to the traditional school day.

Read the full story on Chalkbeat IN.