OC’s after-school coordinator is one of the state’s leaders in extended learning – OECD newsroom

Sandra Mendoza (center) from Raymond Elementary School in Fullerton is congratulated by Suzanne Hill, Liaison Officer for the OECD Extended Learning Project, and program specialist Manuel Mejia, after receiving the California Expanded Award Learning Leadership Award 2021 in the Emerging Leadership category.


A Fullerton School District After School Program Coordinator was honored for her efforts to provide high quality, expanded learning opportunities for students and families in the area.

Sandra Mendoza, who is based at Raymond Elementary School, is one of four recipients of the 2021 California Expanded Learning Leadership Award. The winners were announced last week by State Superintendent Tony Thurmond.

Mendoza was recognized in the Emerging Leadership category. Here’s what the state had to say about his work:

“Sandra is the Site Manager / Site Coordinator of the After School Safety Education Program (ASES) at Raymond Elementary School and has enjoyed every moment of it since taking office in 2011. Sandra loves seeing the faces of her students when she arrives on campus and they are already shouting her name on the pavement. She makes sure to recognize and validate them, and they don’t know how much of a positive impact their enthusiasm has on the start of her day. In her fifteenth school year with the Fullerton School District, Sandra and her team continue to create and facilitate opportunities for students and love to see them engaged and excited to participate in the ASES program. – California Department of Education

According to the state’s Department of Education, the California Expanded Learning Leadership Award is aligned with Lights On Afterschool, a national campaign that celebrates after-school programs to keep children safe and keep children learning while helping families who working.

“Research has shown that high quality extended learning programs create the conditions for students to develop caring relationships with program staff who are in their own neighborhood and who are like them,” said Thurmond. “The expanded learning program provides an emotionally and physically safe place. “

“The California Expanded Learning Leadership Awards celebrate these four amazing people for their hard work and dedication to supporting students in expanded learning programs,” the state superintendent said, “particularly during the pandemic.”

Bridging the Opportunity Gap

The other recipients are Scott Payne of the Hemet Unified School District, Martha Pena of the Oakland Unified School District and Beth Pine of the Fort Bragg Unified School District. Payne was recognized in the Visionary Leadership category, while Pena and Pina were honored in the Inspirational Leadership category.

Citing studies that show that expanded learning programs improve student attendance, reduce dropout rates, reduce juvenile crime, and improve overall academic achievement, state officials have stressed the importance of bridging gaps in opportunities for students who need additional support beyond the teaching day.

Through California’s new Expanded Learning Opportunities Program, $ 1.75 billion has been set aside to “holistically support students before school, after school and during intersession,” according to a statement from California Department of Education press.


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