Washington, CSULB Team Up After School

Washington Intensive Learning Center, already home to an extended school day and school year, is extending learning even further with new after-school help from motivated college students. About 35 Washington students are working with 35 outstanding students from California State University Long Beach on computer literacy and the design of personal web sites. "It's like having your own private mentors," said Washington principal Toni Issa-Lahera. The college tutors are provided with the help of BLAST, Better Learning After School Today. The group places college students and older adult volunteers in K-8 after-school sessions to support students' academic and social growth. BLAST director Jean Egan started the nonprofit effort last year after the city's new Strategic Plan suggested that community groups should collaborate more with schools to enhance after-school learning. BLAST partners include the City of Long Beach, Long Beach City College, CSULB, University of California, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Camp Fire Boys and Girls and the Girl Scouts. About 135 volunteers now work at 17 sites in Long Beach.