The newly formed Jax Shines Coalition, which The Jacksonville Children’s Commission is a leading partner, hosted a Lunch & Launch event on September 22nd, at the Main Library. The purpose of the event was to unveil the results of a year-long analysis of Jacksonville’s afterschool and summer learning programs and introduced a strategic afterschool action plan to improve the quality of those programs.
The lunch was attended by over 100 city leaders including DCPS Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Mayor Lenny Curry, afterschool providers, and non-profit organizations. Matt Kane, JCC’s Board Chair, was the master of ceremonies and JCC Board Member Elder Lee Harris was one of the guest speakers. Other guest speakers for the event included JCC’s CEO Jon Heymann, Jenn McCombs from the Rand Corporation, Pam Paul from JPEF, Priscilla Little from the Wallace Foundation. and Team Up student Jasmine Porter. The luncheon was followed by a visit to the afterschool program at Reynolds Lane Elementary.
Included in the report were a number of recommendations and an action plan on improving the quality of afterschool programs in Jacksonville. The recommendations included creating a shared framework for program quality, building a shared data system, and creating a governance structure for coordination and advocacy. These goals and other changes will all be overseen by the Jax Shines Task Force.
The next step in the action plan is for the Jax Shines Task Force to assist The Jacksonville Children’s Commission in rebidding all of its afterschool contracts. The new guidelines will be based on new expectations in support of quality programming. This will provide an opportunity to achieve better outcomes through more program designs following research-based practices. The rebidding process will start before the end of the year.
The Jacksonville Children’s Commission would like to thank everyone for all their hard work. We are excited on working together to bring higher quality afterschool programs to the children of Jacksonville.