Study Shows Impact of the LA’s BEST After School Program

Listen to an audio story by Annenberg Radio News


From the time the bell rings to the moment their parents collect them, elementary students in the LA’s Best Program are encouraged to both focus on schoolwork and have fun.

Homework is mandatory, and they get help if they need it. But once its done there’s sports, games and art.

The study found that students in the program did better academically in middle school, performed better on standardized tests, and were more likely to take algebra in eighth grade.

Catherine Stringer is the vice president of communications and public affairs for LA’s Best.

“This is very exciting for us because our program only serves elementary school so we’re finding that the effect of the program in elementary school outlasts the program and continues with students as they get into middle school.”

Stringer said after-school programs provide a better environment. And these programs should be available to everyone.

“All children deserve this kind of enrichment, not just those whose families can afford it.”

Denise Huang is a senior research associate at CRESST and she was the project director for the LA’s Best study. She said the program’s effects continued through high school.

“Over the years we find that the la best participants have lower crime rate committed when we look at them into their high school years and they have lower dropout rate.”

Huang said the decrease in crime lowered the public cost for juvenile delinquency facilities. So much so, that every dollar invested in the program meant a two-dollar return in lower crime expenses.