By MEGAN WILLIAMS
Daily News-Record 2/13/19
HARRISONBURG — After offering after-school programs at Rockingham County elementary schools for more than two decades, the Parks and Recreation Department is planning to expand to the middle schools as well.
According to the department, 470 children are enrolled in after-school care at Cub Run, Mountain View, McGaheysville, John Wayland, Fulks Run, John C. Myers, Lacey Spring, Ottobine, Pleasant Valley and Peak View elementary schools.
In November, Kirby Dean, parks and recreation director, and other members of the department met with Rockingham County Schools Superintendent Oskar Scheikl and the division’s middle school principals to discuss expanding after-school programs.
“We haven’t had it in the middle schools before,” Scheikl said, adding that the expanded program would be for sixth- and seventh-graders.
County-led after-school activities began 27 years ago with a playground program at elementary schools that led to the current after-school program, which began a few years later, Scheikl said.
After meeting with the superintendent and principals, the department sent out a questionnaire to parents to gauge interest in expanding to middle schools.
In January, the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors was briefed on the results of the questionnaire, which elicited 200 responses from parents who indicated they would be interested in the program.
“It has been decided that there is adequate interest from the public for the middle school after school program and the initial steps for implementation for the 2019-2020 school year are about to begin,” according to a staff report from the Parks and Recreation Department. There will be 30 slots for each of the middle schools.
“This will be helpful for families who use it as child care,” Scheikl said.