Middle School Program

The Middle School Program is the result of a collaboration between East End House, the City of Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs, and the Cambridge Public School District. The Program serves over 70 middle school youth at the Putnam Avenue Upper School in a comprehensive afterschool program, as well as a seven-week full-day summer program. Our philosophy is to inspire leadership through youth-designed initiatives; empower youth to create their own learning experiences through project-based learning; and utilize the unique talents and interests of the staff to create an environment that allows for free expression of ideas and concerns.

For information on enrolling your child in the Middle School Program, contact Stephanie Gendron at stephanie@eastendhouse.org

Our Philosophy

We believe that as youth enter the middle school years, they are in need of positive support and guidance from caring adults within their family, school and community. Middle School youth spend the majority of their time outside of school. Our progam offers them an enriching place to try new things, explore subjects in interactive ways, develop leadership skills, and build positive relationships with their peers and adults. There is a strong focus on building positive relationships between children and adults, as staff members seek to form personal connections and model positive social skills.

Our Curriculum

Academic Support and Enrichment
Classes are designed to build academic confidence and complement what children learn in school. Students have the choice of daily enrichment activities that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), with arts and character development elements woven into all curriculum. Staff plan classes based on student interest and connect their lessons to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. All youth also receive homework help.

Generating and Evaluating New Adventures in Science After School (GENASAS)
This innovative program is an integral part of the Middle School Program. GENASAS presents Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum in a way that helps youth see science come to life through robotics, dissections, and more. Partnerships with local biotech companies also give youth opportunities to hear guest scientists speak and visit labs to see how the concepts they are learning in school are applied in real world settings. The goal is to frame science in a new and more exciting way for youth and to open their mind to the possibility of careers in the field. A partnership with Program in Education, Afterschool, and Resiliency (PEAR), a group affiliated with Harvard University and McLean Hospital, has been forged to assist staff in aligning program elements with best practices in the field and in documenting, evaluating, and making program improvements.

One-on-One Mentoring Program
The One-on-One Mentoring Program matches middle school youth with volunteer mentors who are college students, professionals, or retirees in the community. Pairs meet once a week during program hours and play sports, cook together, work on homework, engage in science and other program classes. Mentor pairs get together with families during Mentor Fun Nights, such as potlucks at the school, bowling or a Red Sox game. Mentoring relationships are a powerful way to buffer youth against negative outcomes, like substance use and poor school performance. They also build self-confidence and hone decision making skills. The Mentoring Program partners with experts in the field of youth mentoring to help align the program model with proven effective techniques in supporting youth. Experts also assist with the development of comprehensive evaluation systems to ensure continuous quality improvement.

If you are interested in making a powerful impact on the life of a child by becoming a mentor, see the Get Involved page or call 617-876-4444.

Health and Wellnessropes course
East End House's Health and Wellness Initiative is a part of everything we do in the community. In the Middle School Program, youth are given a healthy snack every day. During full days and vacation weeks children are provided with breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. Classes also focus on health in creative ways with gardening and health related service learning projects.

Physical activity is also a vital part of our Health and Wellness Initiative. The Middle School Program offers sports, yoga and dance classes, in addition to a Running Club and seasonal Basketball Tournaments with local Cambridge Youth Centers. In nice weather, we make use of the many neighborhood parks for play and as outdoor classrooms. We give youth the skills and knowledge to make healthy choices for the rest of their lives.

YO! Summer
The Youth Opportunities (YO!) Summer Program held its inaugural session in 2010. East End House staff design games, art activities, science challenges, and special events for students entering the middle grades at the Kennedy-Longfellow School. Students spend 10 hours a day at the program, which utilizes a fun, hands-on, and evidence-based curriculum to prevent summer learning loss, particularly in science and literacy. A more relaxed atmosphere than the school year, YO! Summer incorporates overnight camping adventures, field trips, and team building activities to enrich the summer months for middle schoolers. Youth build their leadership skills, expand their worldview, and enhance skills learned during the school year.

Continuous Program Improvement
The Middle School Program has a variety of systems in place to ensure we are doing all we can to help youth progress socially, emotionally and academically. Surveys are distributed to school teachers, children and families several times throughout the year to gauge satisfaction levels and identify unmet needs. Children participate in focus groups as well. Information from surveys and focus groups is used during staff meetings and in planning for new program sessions. All data is entered into Efforts to Outcomes (ETO), a sophisticated consumer database that allows us to track progress towards goals and continuously incorporate feedback from the consumers and evidence-based program evaluation tools to enhance program quality and user satisfaction. Outside researchers also assist with program development, documentation and evaluation efforts.

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