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Free After School Program Supports At-Risk Learners, Teaches Conflict Management

Posted on September 27, 2021

Johnstown, PA (September 27, 2021) – Conflict is one of the main causes of fights and disciplinary action at school. When children learn conflict resolution skills, they are less likely to engage in conflict or be suspended or expelled. New this year, The Learning Lamp After School Outreach Program, which kicks off Tuesday, September 28, will implement a restorative practices approach.

“We’re excited to integrate Restorative Practices into the after-school setting, to complement what the district offers to support students and staff during the school day,” said Amanda Peretin, Outreach Coordinator at The Learning Lamp.

Restorative Practices is a multifaceted, researched approach to discipline that focuses on five Rs—Relationship, Respect, Responsibility, Repair, and Reintegration. Research shows that exclusionary discipline such as suspensions does not change behavior and can exacerbate bullying, violence, poor academic performance, and a decrease in social-emotional health. Conversely, research demonstrates that restorative approaches that manage conflict and tensions by repairing harm and building relationships can transform student behavior and build a healthy sense of community.

Designed for children in kindergarten through 7th grades, Outreach is coordinated by a certified teacher and aims to help children close skill gaps in reading and math. A Master’s level counselor works with participants to build healthy social-emotional skills that can help them be successful in and out of the classroom. New this year, Outreach will align its behavior management approach with new strategies being rolled out at the Greater Johnstown School District.

Outreach meets Monday through Thursday afternoons during the school year. In additional to this year’s focus on conflict resolution skills, the program also offers a hot meal, homework help, and engaging, structured activities. Students living in the Oakhurst neighborhood will meet at the Oakhurst Community Center from 4 – 5:15 p.m. Children in Coopersdale will meet at the community center from 5:45-7 p.m.

Last school year, The Learning Lamp After School Outreach Program helped participants stay on track with school work as the pandemic disrupted traditional in-person instruction. With the support of grants and donations, the program will continue to support improved academic performance and the development of positive behaviors throughout the 2021-22 school year.

For more information about The Learning Lamp After School Outreach Program, contact Amanda at: 814-262-0732 x246 or visit our website at: www.thelearninglamp.org. For people who enjoy working with children, The Learning Lamp is hiring staff for its Outreach program. Staff members are required to meet clearance requirements.

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The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. In 2020, The Learning Lamp served 28,938 youth/adults from 51 public school districts and 36 other schools and organizations in 13 Pennsylvania counties. 

Our programs include: one-to-one tutoring; before/after school programs; portable classrooms aimed at building math and science skills; alternative education programs for at-risk students; evidence-based prevention programs; online learning and credit recovery; SAT preparation; educationally-focused child care; literacy-based preschool programs; and grant writing and project consulting for schools.

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