Dyersville Doubles Program Enrollment in 2019

“Parents need a safe space for kids to go to before and after school.”

Amy McDonough,
St. Mark Youth Enrichment

This school year, twice as many students at Dyersville Elementary will have access to before and after school programming as last year. 

St. Mark Youth Enrichment’s program will serve 30 students before school and 45 after school in Dyersville.“That’s the largest number we’ve ever seen in Dyersville,” said Amy McDonough, St. Mark’s Director of Programs for Western Dubuque.

“Parents need a safe space for kids to go to before and after school,” explained McDonough. She added that St. Mark may be the only opportunity some families may have to experience a safe, fun, and free learning environment outside of school.  

St. Mark Youth Enrichment works with teachers at Dyersville elementary to provide educational programs that engage students through, literacy activities, hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, and Music) enrichment, physical literacy, and more. 

These structured efforts showed measured student progress in the 2018-19 school year.  

  • Teacher surveys and student reports indicated 86% of students showed improved behavior in the classroom.
  • 95% of Dyersville students either maintained or improved social-emotional skills according to the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA). 
  • 86% of parents reported noticing their children were better at getting along with other students.
  • 100% of St. Mark staff reported that students improved notably in attitude about helping. As one staff member responded in an anonymous survey, “students that may have been quiet have blossomed, and are talking and interacting with others.”

Linda Martin, principal of Dyersville Elementary, shared the program allows her staff to expand their learning and build student involvement before and after school. 

It’s helping out in our community; it’s helping our students, and it’s supporting our families.

Linda Martin,
Dyersville Elementary

“Our students enjoy the programs,” says Martin. “It’s helping out in our community; it’s helping our students, and it’s supporting our families. Ultimately the most important thing for me is that we’re able to support our families in ways that they need us.”

St. Mark celebrated its 30th-anniversary last year and expanded into Western Dubuque schools five years ago when it first offered summer programing in Dyersville. Support from a U.S. Department of Education 21st Century Grant; national, state, and local partners, and donors has allowed the program to serve families during the school year. Because of this support, St. Mark is also able to offer the program for students at Dyersville Elementary at no cost. 

“Families living in rural communities have limited options and resources to meet their needs for before and after school care,” says Executive Director Dawn Cogan. “St. Marks provides the opportunity for more families to access consistent, quality programming in their community. It benefits new and current businesses in their ability to attract workers. The school and community as a whole have another committed partner dedicated to ensuring children are set up for success.”   

To learn more or to give, visit www.stmarkyouthenrichment.org.