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Fortress After School is one of our longest-running programs, getting its start as Fortress Literacy Center in 2004. Since its inaugural year serving 12 students, it has grown to an enrollment of 90 kids in PreK3-5th grade. Our students come from the neighborhood school, Van Zandt-Guinn Elementary, conveniently located just two blocks from our facility.

Students begin their day with a healthy after school snack and group time, where they can talk with friends, decompress from a long day at school, and practice self-regulation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, and emotional vocabulary.

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Students then enjoy homework help and tutoring, supplemented with reading and math software from iStation. Once homework is complete, students receive supporting instruction and complete activities coordinated with the school and state curriculum guidelines. This hands-on learning supplements the material they are receiving in school and brings math, art, reading, writing and science to life in new and exciting ways.

Supporting our faith-based foundation is weekly Bible lessons and nightly worship. Students in PreK-2nd grade complete Sunday School-style lessons to introduce them to the stories and messages behind the Bible, while 3rd-5th grade students dive deeper and work to make faith practical and applicable through object lessons, service projects, and leadership challenges.

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Plenty of time is allotted each week for outdoor play, games, and special interest clubs. Students are encouraged to build strong relationships with one another, and with staff and volunteers. They are also given opportunities to explore new talents and skills that may open doors for them in the future.

Additionally, Fortress After School provides dinner each evening through its partnership with Purple Hearts, an FDA food program. Special events, such as field trips, reward store, and mentoring, also make the program an enriching, fun experience for students.

Like all of Fortress’s programs, After School is offered free-of-charge to families who live in our neighborhood and attend Van Zandt-Guinn Elementary School. In lieu of tuition, parents and guardians complete 12 hours of parent engagement and participate in two annual conferences to remain eligible for reenrollment.

 Rubik’s Cube Club students try to work out their puzzles.

Rubik’s Cube Club students try to work out their puzzles.

 Students enjoy the outdoor courtyard and buddy benches during free play time.

Students enjoy the outdoor courtyard and buddy benches during free play time.

 4th and 5th grade students collaborate on a service project.

4th and 5th grade students collaborate on a service project.

 Kindergartners work together on a science project.

Kindergartners work together on a science project.

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