08/19/2014 -


Southwest Airlines has partnered with PASA as its official airline sponsor for a second year. Last year, Southwest flew PASA staff to national conferences, trainings, and other professional development opportunities. Thanks to their support, we were able to send more staff than ever to participate national conferences and speaking engagements, like the National Summer Learning Association's conference in Orlando, FL, where Naomi Jacobs, AfterZone Summer Scholars Manager, presented for the first time on PASA's quality improvement system.

Not only does Southwest's partnership help PASA grow our staff by affording them more opportunities to deepen their knowledge and engage with other industry professionals, it also ensures PASA remains a leader in national conversations around afterschool and expanded learning, while helping us spend more on programming and less on travel.

PASA and Southwest share a dedication to a thriving Providence community and we're excited to work together for a second year. 

08/05/2014 -

By Cam Walters, PASA Operations Coordinator

posted 8.5.2014


Left: Student at DelSesto Middle School poses in Officer Brown's jacket, (right): DJ Big Sean Brown!

Officer Sean Brown (aka DJ Big Sean Brown) first began working with PASA as part of the PASS (Providence After School Sports) program provided by the Providence Police Department. Sean ran sports programming ranging from basketball to football to "super sports"--a Big Sean Brown creation where every time students would come to the program, they'd find themselves playing a different sport.

He was drawn to the AfterZone because he felt that it would be a good opportunity for young people to connect with him as a police officer in positive, healthy ways. Additionally, because Sean is a School Resource Officer, the AfterZone gave him the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with students that he saw throughout the day. By building trusted relationships outside of the school day with students, it made it easier for them to feel comfortable coming to him during the school day with issues, questions, or concerns.

Though the PASS program no longer exists, Sean continues to provide programming in the AfterZone, and has expanded from sports into a very popular DJ program called "Beatz and Blendz." In the program, students learn to DJ (make song lists, how to meet with clients, how to set-up the equipment, how to use the equipment, and more), but Sean also includes a mentoring component, where students go to help him at his own professional gigs and he guides them through the entire process of being a professional DJ. He even pays them for their time. 

Sean has touched the hearts and minds of countless students. He's a critical advocate and school liaison and without him, the AfterZone wouldn't be the same. Thank you, Big Sean Brown, for your continued work...

07/30/2014 -

If you hear "summer school," and this (above) is what you imagine, it's time for a major summer learning image overhaul.

Summer learning doesn't have to mean summer school. At least not in the remedial or punitive sense most of us came to know. Rather than holding onto an old vision of what summer learning looks like, urban districts around the country are keeping the school in summer, but are overhauling what the learning looks like.   

Here in Providence, we've partnered with the Providence Public School District to completely reimagine how young people could and should learn during the summer. And a lot of that is about how they interact with their schools, teachers, community, one another, and the learning process itself. 

A picture's worth a thousand words, so take a look at the new face of summer learning!

Kyle Labbe, Vinny Texeira, and Erick Gonzalez enjoy relaxing with a game of chess during afternoon free choice time in Club AfterZone at Nathanael Greene Middle School


Nathan Bishop Middle School students in the Save the Bay program explore the RI shoreline with their teacher Glenn Zienowicz



07/14/2014 -

by Rebecca Petrarca, DelSesto AfterZone Site Coordinator
posted 7.14.14

Camblin Reyes began working with the AfterZone in 2010 at her alma mater Bridgham Middle School, which was closed in 2011 and re-purposed into an elementary school. Maintaining her dedication to youth work, Camblin wanted to continue to work in the AfterZone and transferred to DelSesto Middle School.

Now four years in, Camblin continues to make the connection between AfterZone and the community stronger, infusing the AfterZone with her passion for working with youth and their families. Camblin is currently student at the Community College of Rhode Island where she is pursuing a certification as a Phlebotomy Technician. 

She is an enthusiastic educator and a wonderful role model for the young people she works with all year. I'm lucky to have her as one of my frontline staff.

Thank you, Camblin, for all you do for the Providence community, PASA, and our city's young people.


07/11/2014 -

This post originally appeared on the Cross & Joftus blog. Cross & Joftus works with states, foundations, school districts, and nonprofit organizations to meet their education goals. PASA worked with Cross & Joftus to identify areas of Common Core alignment and improvement in our AfterZone Summer Scholars program. 

Cheryl Krehbiel helps schools, districts, and states improve instruction, align curriculum, and better support teachers through more effective professional development



Students in DownCity Design's Design For Growth AfterZone Program building a water collection structure for
Southside Land Trust's Peace and Plenty garden. Photo by Jori Ketten.


By Cheryl Krehbiel, Cross & Joftus Associate

Across the country, Expanded Learning Organizations (ELOs) that run afterschool and summer programs are doing their part to support students in their efforts to meet increased learning expectations. As states are implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) or other standards focused on college and career readiness, some ELOs are taking a bold step to closely examine their current practices and establish plans and milestones for further improvement by more closely aligning their work to these new standards.

As partners in the education process, ELOs provide many students with the additional time needed to learn at high levels. ELOs also incorporate different learning styles and approaches including more hands-on projects and problem solving. For many ELOs, alignment to the new standards provides an opportunity to strengthen their programs and is a must for sustainability as districts seek to align all student supports with the new standards. While the idea of ELOs aligning their programming with the...

07/09/2014 -

by Michael Braithwaite, Director of Communications

posted 7.9.2014

This year, PASA is lucky to be looking back at 10 amazing years working with 10,000 young people. As we take this opportunity to reflect before looking ahead to the next 10 years, we thought we'd sit down with some of our youth alumni and community partners about their thoughts on the AfterZone, Hub, and citywide afterschool in general. 

Adults talk a lot about academic outcomes, and college and workforce preparedness. We look for ways to make sure after-school and expanded learning programs are connected to in-school content and competencies. We try to find ways to link student interests with career and college options. Interestingly, what we've been hearing from all of the alumni we touched base with is that it was the positive adult relationships and the ability to choose what they did with their after school hours that made a huge difference to them. 

It's a good reminder to not lose sight of how critical caring adults and youth choice are to the longterm success of our young people. 

Joely Barrios


Left Photo: 6th grade Joely (bottom right) meeting John McEnroe with her AfterZone tennis program

Right photo: Joely as a senior in high school reading her piece "Sidewalk Women" at the 2013 Providence Youth Poetry Slam


Joely started the AfterZone at Gilbert Stuart Middle School in 6th grade. Like many of our young people, she was drawn to the diversity of after school options she could pick from and was immediately drawn to tennis—one of her father's passions. Throughout her middle school career, Joely took tennis,...