Two Big-City Mayors Join Afterschool Alliance Board

Nashville, Tenn., Mayor Karl Dean and Fort Worth, Texas, Mayor Betsy Price recently joined the board of directors of the Afterschool Alliance.

“We’re thrilled to add the unique perspectives of Mayor Dean and Mayor Price to our board,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Mayors are among the strongest advocates for afterschool because they see firsthand the extraordinary difference that afterschool programs make in the lives of children, families, and communities. Mayors are intimately familiar with the varied intersections between afterschool, school, business, families, crime reduction and community. Mayor Dean and Mayor Price have been champions of afterschool programming. We’re looking forward to benefiting from their experience, commitment and wisdom.”

Mayor Karl Dean
Dean created the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA), a network of afterschool providers for middle school students in Metro Nashville Schools. NAZA serves 650 middle school students in programs that link targeted academic intervention with engaging enrichment activities. The NAZA model has doubled the number of at-risk students in afterschool by addressing both cost and transportation barriers. In addition, Dean has been a strong advocate of education reform in the public schools, maintaining full funding for the school system at a time when the deep national recession forced cutbacks in other departments.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Afterschool Alliance as it advocates on behalf of afterschool programs, and the children, families and communities they serve,” said Dean. “In Nashville and Davidson County, afterschool is a lifesaver for many of our children. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to boost access to afterschool through the Nashville After Zone Alliance, and I look forward to continuing that work through my association with the Afterschool Alliance.”

In May 2009, Dean launched the Nashville After Zone Alliance in partnership with Metro Nashville Schools, acting on a recommendation of a task force called the Project for Student Success. Dean had convened the panel in 2007, shortly after his election, and it concluded that the city was “sorely lacking” in programs to meet the needs of middle and high school youth. NAZA is aimed squarely at the problem, serving middle school youth by way of a public-private partnership, including support from the Wallace Foundation.

Dean also formed the Education First Fund at the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to attract private support for education reform initiatives. Contributors include individuals, foundations and faith-based organizations, and their donations have supported bringing two national teacher recruitment organizations—Teach for America and The New Teacher Project—to Nashville.

Additionally, by attracting private support for education, Dean created two innovative programs in the city’s schools. Limitless Libraries is a collaboration between Nashville Public Library and Metro Nashville Schools that delivers books and materials directly to school libraries. Music Makes Us is a comprehensive makeover of the music education program in the public schools that taps into the music and music business expertise in Music City. Curriculum includes new classes in composition, rock band and hip-hop performance, and a student-run record label has been established in a high school.

Dean is the sixth mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. He was elected in 2007 and reelected in 2011. He remains committed to continued progress on his priorities of education, public safety and economic development.

Mayor Betsy Price
Price is the 44th mayor of the City of Fort Worth, elected in June 2011. She has focused her administration on fiscal responsibility, on creating a stronger economy through public-private partnerships, and on strengthening neighborhoods through faith-based and citywide health engagement initiatives. She is a strong supporter of young adults becoming civically engaged and has launched SteerFW, a group of more than 300 young citizens charged with learning about current challenges and finding solutions.

“It’s an honor to join the board of the Afterschool Alliance, an organization that has done so much to keep our children safe and constructively engaged after school,” said Price. “Investing in our future starts with giving every child the opportunity and tools they need to be successful in the classroom and, ultimately, in life. We are very proud of the bond between the city and the Fort Worth Independent School District. It’s a partnership that provides local children fun, healthy and education-based alternatives to staying home alone. I look forward to continuing our work on behalf of children through my association with the Afterschool Alliance.”

Since 2001, the City of Fort Worth has dedicated more than $1.4 million annually to support afterschool programming in four school districts through partial proceeds from a one-half cent sales tax dedicated to a crime control and prevention district. The Fort Worth Independent School District agreed to jointly create Fort Worth After School, matching the city’s funding commitment. Federal funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative is another source of significant funding. Thus, the city’s commitment has leveraged other sources of funding, allowing Fort Worth to create and sustain programs serving more than 12,000 elementary and middle school students at more than 80 campuses around the city, providing daily homework help, technology exploration, opportunities in the arts, community service projects and more.

In addition, Mayor Price recently announced a citywide initiative aimed at reducing childhood obesity, “FitWorth, A Healthy City Initiative.” The program will work to raise awareness about existing healthy activities in the city, including projects conducted by the Fort Worth schools’ FitWorth Kids initiative. The first project is an eight-week team competition for third- through eighth-graders in which children will track their eating habits and physical activity.

Price and Dean join a board that features leaders in education, industry and public policy.

This story originally appeared in the Afterschool Advocate (Vol. 13, Issue 11).

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