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School Programs
Serving school age children from kindergarten up to 13 years old or through 12th grade

Overview of School Age Programs

Program Descriptions

Income Eligibility

How to Connect

Overview of School Age Programs

Families frequently face challenges seeking services for their children before and after school and when schools are not in session.  This page describes two of the larger programs – the 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the After School Education and Safety Programs - targeted to school age children from kindergarten through 12th grade.  It is not comprehensive in that the availability of school age programs is often determined by the offerings available through school districts, cities and local community-based organizations.  Local schools are an excellent starting place for information about resources for school age children, some of which may be based on the school site, or at a community-based organization.  While not intending to omit information on how individual school districts administer and operate their school age programs, special consideration is given in this section to Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) as it is the largest school district in the county as well as the state and among the largest in the country.  Local libraries and County and City Park and Recreation Departments are other potential sources of services for school age children. 

In addition to the programs listed in this section, income eligible families with children from birth to 13 years old may enroll in a CDE/CDD-contracted program that provides subsidized child care and development services to children from birth through 12 years old as funding and space is available (see the link, Los Angeles Centralized Eligibility List, on the previous page to learn how to connect with these programs). 

Program Description

21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC):  Provides before and after school programs for disadvantaged kindergarten through 12th grade students (particularly students attending schools in need of improvement) with academic enrichment opportunities and supportive services to help the students meet state and local standards in core content areas.  The Centers also focus on family literacy and related educational supports.  Most programs do not operate during vacation and summer breaks.

After School Education and Safety (ASES) Programs:  With funding from the CDE, schools and local community resources partner to provide literacy, academic enrichment and safe constructive alternatives for students in kindergarten through eighth/ninth grade (elementary and middle schools).  Program elements include:  1) education and literacy through tutoring and homework assistance in academic subjects; and 2) education enrichment that includes recreation and prevention activities.  ASES Programs operate for a minimum of 15 hours per week and at least until 6:00 p.m. on regular school days.  Before School Programs operate one to two hours per day.  Most programs do not operate during vacation and summer breaks.

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD – Beyond the Bell Branch):LAUSD, through its Beyond the Bell Branch and as the grant recipient and administrator of their district’s 21st CCLC and ASES funds, contracts with a number of community-based organizations - such as LA’s BEST, Woodcraft Rangers, LA Conservation Corps, Afterschool All-Stars, and more -  to deliver before and after school services throughout their district.  LAUSD also provides services directly through units such as the Youth Development Program (YDP), Youth Services Plus (YS Plus) and “Ready, Set, Go! – Before School Program”.  As such, LAUSD provides funds for the operation of the following programs that are designed to ensure that school age children have access to high quality, safe and supervised educational, enrichment and recreational programs:

  • Beyond the Bell Branch:  An administrative department of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), ensures that all students within the district have access to high quality, safe and supervised educational, enrichment and recreational programs that engage and inspire learning and achievement beyond the regular school day.  Beyond the Bell Branch connects students and youth to their home, school and community through a variety of programs that are provided and operated by the school district and its partner agencies before and after school and on weekends.  Beyond the Bell programs offer academic intervention programs, before and after school programs, and free tutoring.

  • LA’s BEST (Better Educated Students for Tomorrow) After School Enrichment Program:In a unique partnership with the City of Los Angeles and LAUSD, provides a safe haven for children, ages 5 to 12, at 180 elementary school sites each day during the critical hours after school at no cost to parents. LA’s BEST provides its students with homework assistance, a cognitively based enrichment activity (i.e. science club, math club, literacy activity), a fun recreation activity of their choosing (i.e., dance, sports, art, cooking), and a nutritious snack.  In addition to daily core activities, LA's BEST has several enhanced programs in the arts, fitness, science and technology, typing, or literacy.

Income Eligibility

21st CCLC and ASES:  Every student attending a public school operating an ASES Program is eligible to participate as space allows.  Any school and public or private organization operating a 21st CCLC must provide opportunities for the participation of both public and private school students in the area as space allows.

Beyond the Bell Branch: The before and after school programs operated under Beyond the Bell Branch are available by application to students attending that particular school site as space is available.  The free tutoring is available only to students eligible for free and reduced lunches and attending need to improve (Title I) schools.

LA’s BEST:  Open to children who regularly attend a school where the program is located and at no cost to parents.  Students are enrolled on a first come, first served basis with some spaces reserved for special referrals by principals and counselors of students whom they feel are in great need of such a program.

How to Connect

21st CCLC and ASES:  The Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (R&Rs) provide referrals to school age programs including 21st CCLCs and ASES programs.  Families may call toll-free 1-888-922-4453 to be connected to their local R&R.  Families are also encouraged to check with their child’s school to find out if a 21st CCLC or ASES is hosted on the school site.  If the school does not offer the services, contact the family’s school district to find out if there are programs on other school sites and whether their child may enroll in the program. 

Beyond the Bell Branch: For more information about Beyond the Bell and its programs, visit http://btb.lausd.net or call (213) 241-7900.

LA’s BEST:Visit www.lasbest.org to learn more about the program offerings; to locate a school offering a LA’s BEST program, click on ‘Our Programs’, then ‘Our Schools’.  For those without Internet access, call (213) 745-1900.


Office of Child Care
Service Integration Branch/Chief Executive Office
222 South Hill Street, 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA  90012
(213) 974-4103 Telephone • (213) 217-5106 Facsimile

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