EMCSD Invests $9 Million in Student Experiences
In a resounding commitment to nurturing well-rounded students, El Monte City School District (EMCSD) has invested over $9 million into its Expanded Learning Opportunities program (ELO-P). This initiative revolutionizes elementary education by providing an array of enriching extracurricular experiences, at no cost to families, aimed at fostering student agency and inspiring lifelong interests.
EMCSD’s ELO-P has become a valuable resource for parents, students, and educators by providing easy access to a diverse menu of activities that include STEM, music, art, and outdoor programming.
“Students don’t just learn the content in the classroom,” explained Dr. Teresa Pinedo, EMCSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. “They learn through experiences and making connections to what they are taught in the classroom. ELO-P opens up their world to experiences they might not have access to. We are removing barriers for students to participate in activities like soccer, musical theater, and study trips at no cost.”
EMCSD’s investment has been hard at work, with more programming and funding to come. This includes a $2.9 million contract with El Monte Parks & Recreation to provide an array of afterschool sports activities that include swimming lessons, cheerleading, volleyball, flag football, track and field, and basketball. The other $6 million is split between students learning cooking and life skills through their Culinary Academy, learning the ins and outs of the film industry with Youth Cinema Project, participating in swimming lessons, competing in Lego Robotics, and golf lessons on weekends. EMCSD also provides half and full-day programming during Winter and Spring break. Over the summer, EMCSD used ELO-P funding to hire El Monte Union High School students to be summer and after-school tutors, providing jobs to the community and strengthening communal relationships.
Cleminson 3rd grader Jon Casanova, who has been part of EMCSD’s after-school programming since TK, has loved the new opportunities and wants all his friends to join in. “Everyone should join because it’s fun, and we learn a lot.” Jon participates in Cleminson’s after-school soccer program and says he has as much fun, if not more, than his regular league. “My coach wants us to work hard to get better, but he always makes sure we have fun and that it’s okay if we have hard days.” When asked how he would convince parents to sign up their students he said, “It’s easy, just choose the fun thing you like and tell your parents. It’s easy and it’s free!”
With ELO-P, EMCSD is taking a giant leap toward shaping young minds and fostering a lifelong love for learning. “Outside of our investment, the partnerships are really at the core of the impact that provides the excellence in programming to our kids and families,” explained Dr. Jacob Muniz, EMCSD’s Coordinator of Engagement and Enrichment. “Our programming is benefiting the overall well-being of our students, developing their agency, contributing to their future voice, and expanding their horizons.”
With this investment, EMCSD believes they are shaping student futures for the better. “Our ultimate goal is for kids to develop an excitement or spark about opportunities that they didn’t know were available,” shared Dr. Pinedo. “We want to spark interests that will follow them through high school and college and be a potential career path or something that simply grounds them to benefit their social-emotional well-being. A skill set like golf is something they can learn and take with them into the business world and have the confidence to participate.”
As their program continues to evolve, EMCSD’s model is consistent, fostering excellence and equity for all students and allowing them to explore their interests.