Dothan City Schools has opened up registration for extended day at some of the district’s elementary schools for A-Labs, an afterschool program with STEAM-based curriculum.
The program will be available at Jerry Lee Faine Elementary School, Girard Primary School, Girard Intermediate Middle School, Morris Slingluff Elementary School, and Selma Street Elementary.
The program is an outside entity that works in close partnership with school systems to design their program to fit the needs of the area.
A-Labs will serve students from the end of the school day until 5:45 p.m. with a standard weekly tuition rate of $55 with a one-time $30 registration fee. Discounted tuition is available for multi-student families.
Students will be provided a snack in partnership with the DCS Child Nutrition Program.
Students will have an hour to participate in academic learning focusing on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
After that, they will have an hour of “study stars” time, which is essentially traditional school work, with help from learning staff as needed. If they do not have homework, they have access to learning centers, where students can “explore freely the possibilities of play with building blocks, logic puzzles, science/engineering kits, and other educational toys and games,” according to a program description.
Students can then engage in guided play until 5:45 p.m. or until they are picked up by a parent or guardian.
Students enrolled in the program will also have the opportunity to participate in daily team challenges, during which students can compete in structured team-building challenges, such as the completion of obstacle courses, logic puzzles, and minute-to-win-it challenges, which emphasize communication, cooperation, and collaborative thinking skills.
At the end of each semester, students can present their STEAM research to classmates, parents, and teachers.
The program is used by several other larger systems in the state, including Huntsville, and is more than just playtime and homework time like many other extended day programs, co-creator Whit Colvin said at a July board meeting.
“This is playtime, homework time, but the playtime, homework time and learning time all revolve around things that kids love anyway, like experiments and animals and rockets and dinosaurs and fun things…” Colvin said.
Dothan City Schools will receive 8 percent of the revenue collected by A-Labs.
To enroll a student or learn more about A-Labs, parents and guardians can visit
Carver Magnet School’s extended day program “will have opportunities for supervised indoor and outdoor activities including a snack period, homework time, STEM/Robotics lab, clubs, interest groups, centers, computer time, sports and free time,” according to its website.
The program will be available until 5:30 p.m. Weekly tuition is $50 per week, which includes an afternoon snack, and a $5 registration fee.
Chess, archery, art, technology, and gardening are some clubs that will be available to participate in after school.
Carver will offer choices of STEM-based learning for its Extended Day program including video game design and modeling, and robotics and automation, which involves a competition.
Forms to enroll students are available on Carver’s website.
Highlands Elementary and Kelly Springs will have a similar program, operating until 5:30 p.m. every afternoon. Tuition will be $50 weekly with a one-time $5 non-refundable registration fee.
“The main emphasis of the program will be to give instructional assistance to each student to ensure that the time is well spent. Even though we will maintain a school-like atmosphere, it will be a more relaxed time and provide individual help,” reads information posted on Highlands website.
Parents are expected to pay even if a child misses an entire week for their slot in the program as staff is hired according to enrollment numbers.
Dothan High School students have been hired to help with the extended day program at Highlands.
Parents can enroll children at open house.
Hidden Lake has also hired teachers to supervise the school’s extended day program but information about their program has not been made public yet. Attempts to reach the school for information have been unsuccessful.
It is unclear where Beverlye Intermediate School stands with its extended day program, but approved personnel records from the district do not show any hires for the program as of July 29. Calls to the school have been unreturned.
Dothan City Early Education Center, the school district’s pre-K program now housed at the old Honeysuckle Middle School building, will also offer an extended care option from 2:30 to 5:30 for $50 a week or $10 a day and a $5 registration fee.
Principal Christy Martin said the program will be an extension of what students are learning in classrooms, including arts and crafts and other interactive activities.
Dothan Preparatory Academy is planning to have a before-school program. There will be a charge, but principal Darius McKay has yet to announce specifics on cost or an exact starting time.
“It’s going to be a time period where we’re trying to get students to start the school day mindset,” McKay said in an earlier interview. “It’s going to be mostly homework help, some light movement throughout that morning. We’ll also do some light music – nothing too strenuous.”
McKay could not be reached by Thursday afternoon.