It is with great enthusiasm that I write this letter of reference for the AlphaBEST Education Program. Over the last three years as Superintendent of Schools, I have examined every aspect of operations in my District and asked one simple question, are we optimizing our performance in this area of our operations?
With regard to before and after school programming, the answer was a resounding no. It was clear that we had a program in place with some historical roots in the District, but we were not truly leveraging this time for the benefit of the students. Our process was simple, go out to bid and select a vendor that can bring everything we want to a program of this nature. AlphaBEST, with Judy Nee leading the way, met and exceeded all of our expectations. When I think of AlphaBEST, I think of a strong team, with a can-do innovative approach to before and after school care. The offerings afforded to students- Lego Robotics, SAM Animation, Spanish, and The Arts (Art, Music, Movement), to name just a few, are very engaging. Students truly enjoy what they are doing and are learning at the same time!
As superintendent of a school district, we are sometimes tasked with making change for the
betterment of the students, but in making this change, we can often face political opposition when
changing the status quo. This was the case as I made the change from our long standing local
vendors' program to AlphaBEST. Some critics argued that a large company like AlphaBEST had a "Big Box" feel and we would lose the personal touch with our kids. This could not be further from the truth. With the AlphaBEST model, a local manager is hired, an individual from the community that knows the culture and the individuals in the district.
In Cumberland, we did hire a supremely talented and very personable individual in Ms. Jenny Copans. Ms. Copans, along with Ms. Nee, in a short period of time, through their attention to detail and positive approach to the work, extinguished the local concerns folks may have had about changing programs. In fact, many of the original individuals that raised concerns with our change to Alpha BEST ended up enrolling their children in the program.
Today, half-way through our first year with AlphaBEST, I could not be happier. I now have a robust program for students in the District and I have a partner in education that I often interact with to discuss various educational happenings in the District. As Superintendent, you are tasked with making many decisions every day, this was one of my best decisions that I made last year. Alpha BEST is a great program with a top flight leadership team and I would strongly recommend their before and after school program in your district.
Philip Thornton, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools, Cumberland School Department, Rhode Island
"I am a first grade teacher at Branch Elementary School in Bryan, Tx and I have witnessed the Alphabest program transform one of my students. I started the year late with my students, and when I came into the class I was having trouble with the students using their imaginations, being excited to learn, and wanting to ask questions. I started noticing a change in one of my students when we would have class discussions and when he would tell a story to another student. He has been using his Spanish words in class and trying to teach them to other students. I decided to start watching him in the afternoon, just to observe, and I saw where he was getting the motivation and the enthusiasm for learning. This was coming from the after school program, Alphabest, at Mary Branch Elementary. The teachers have lessons planned for the students, they use technology, they have a wonderful story teller, they engage the students with other activities such as golf. I have been very impressed with the gains that this child has made that I have decided that my child, who will attend kindergarten next year, would benefit from this program and I am looking forward to see her progress next year. "Stacey Garcia, 1st Grade at Mary Branch Elementary, Bryan, Texas
"Caroline has truly enjoyed being in the French language program at Mitchell this last semester. She would come home after class and have very positive things to say which is not always been my experience. In the past, her comments were that while the teachers were very nice, she did not feel as though she was learning many new things. This year she has been very engaged, asked me to help her at home and asked to be signed up for the Spring class (again something she has not done before). We are looking forward to the next class!" Kathryn, Parent of Child in French language program at Mitchell School in Needham, MA
"The AlphaBEST program has been a nice addition to MES in providing high quality, structured before and after care for our students. The AlphaBEST Program uses a curriculum that is theme based and integrates activities that are both academic, fun and stimulating for students. Students participate in these activities in the gym, cafeteria and computer lab at the school. Students attending the AlphaBEST Before/After Care Program are enjoying the varied activities that allow them to use both gross and fine motor skills and be intellectually challenged. How a child begins their day certainly has a big influence on their success at school during the day. The morning activities provided by AlphaBEST certainly get our students ready for learning each day by allowing them to participate in intellectually stimulating activities. The afternoon activities allows for students to unwind with some structured activities in the gym and then planned activities are also provided to supplement what they have learned during the school day.
I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to give a scholarship to the AlphaBEST Program for a student who may not have been able to attend the program. Based on the high enrollment of students in the program at MES, one scholarship has been awarded. Making sure that students are not left at or sent home to an empty home and that their morning and afternoons are filled with fun-filled activities that will help to accentuate their educational program at school, is very important to me. I am glad to have this program at Matapeake Elementary School and I am pleased with the positive effects that I see it having on the students who attend the program."
Carol M. Kamp, Principal, Matapeake Elementary School, Queen Anne's County, Maryland
“My daughter attends Southwest Elementary and participates in the Alphabest Program under the direction of Ms. Mona Swain. I have been more than pleased with the care, character development, and enrichment she has received. As a parent and a teacher with WSFCS I have been impressed with what Alphabest has to offer. Abby receives care and love as well as truly exciting enrichment experiences. I would like to draw attention to just a few of the program highlights:
I am particularly pleased with the STEM activities that Abby has taken part of, especially being that I am at Brunson (STEM Magnet)! Abby has been introduced to the design process in a hands on, exciting way. She has studied, built, and used technology in numerous projects.
The children do not just have "free play" as physical education; they have structured sports and games with sporting equipment.
My daughter particularly enjoys the visual and performing arts program. The children study a particular artist and then create a project that highlights the artist's traits. The group also participate in plays. Practicing in the auditorium on stage adds authenticity to the experience!
Culture and foreign language activities have been engaging. Abby couldn't wait to show off her Chinese writing and practicing her basic Mandarin Chinese vocabulary!
Abby actually receives assistance with her homework and review for tests, versus other programs that just tell the kids to do their work.
The arts and crafts activities are fun, child centered, with quality materials used.
The Alphabest teachers work with the children as well as play games with them. (Ms. Swain made a special trip to purchase a game favorite of my daughter's)
I know that at Alphabest my daughter receives top notch care and enrichment. Alphabest is a wonderful program; but honestly Ms. Swain should be recognized for producing such a caring , nurturing, child centered, knowledge based program at Southwest Elementary. Her work should be used as a model to showcase why Alphabest would best serve the WSFCS afterschool program."
Patricia A. Gulledge, Parent and Teacher Winston-Salem/ Forsyth County Schools, North Carolina
"For years, it's been a revolving door of before and after care programs and along with it, lots of issues. It seemed as though the problems would leave the before/after care program and enter our classrooms in the form of discipline concerns or physical injuries. It would literally put a knot in my stomach, worrying about the safety of the students and the integrity of the programs.
What a breath of fresh air AlphaBest has been! I watch how the caregivers interact with the students and how the students react to those involved with the program. There's structure, but it's still fun. There's organization and the program seems to be a natural extension of our philosophy at South Jefferson."
Keri A. Mahoney, Head Teacher , South Jefferson Elementary, West Virginia
"Alpha Best is a program that runs smoothly, independently and provides our district's children with purposeful and meaningful activities in a secure environment during the critical after school hours.
AlphaBest employs exceptional leaders who are child-centered and academically committed to excellence. In addition, their leadership is effective in the daily operations of the program and in their interactions with school administrators and parents. AlphaBest employees are knowledgeable of local expectations that range from curricular to custodial. We find them to be accommodating and eager to please in every regard. The local management team is in close contact with the daily operations on each campus and responsive to any questions or concerns that may arise. What few problems that may arise in the course of a year on 28 campuses are immediately addressed and seldom, if ever, is there a need for them to be addressed a second time.
I can recommend the AlphaBest organization to any school district without hesitation or qualification."
Sally Turner, M. Ed., Facilitator of Special Projects, Frisco ISD, Frisco, TX
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