It’s invigorating to see state Sen. Brendan Crighton bring his energy and focus to the Legislature’s After-School and Out-of-School Time Coordinating Council.
The council’s title sounds overly-long and bureaucratic, but its mission is essential to helping children succeed as 21st century students. Let’s face it: The days of playing kickball with friends or eating cookies after school while watching “Batman” have given way to education becoming a 10-hour-a-day pursuit.
As the council Senate chairman, Crighton will help oversee an overarching mission designed in no small part to best align state education resources so that they enhance after-school opportunities for youth.
One of the most crucial areas where the council will make recommendations involves promoting collaboration and strengthening coordination between school districts and community-based after-school and out-of-school time programs.
Lynn in particular has a rich menu of after-school programs for families to choose from and use with a cluster of outstanding agencies offering resources in the heart of the city near most of its schools.
Lynn public schools have forged strong relationships with workforce development providers; local businesses and North Shore Community College, and those relationships speak to another area the council will focus on.
Workforce development in the after-school and out-of-school time workforce, including enhancing opportunities for professional development and technical assistance, are important ways to couple the knowledge students gain in school with work and training opportunities outside of school.
It is fitting that the man Crighton succeeded as Lynn’s senator — Mayor Thomas M. McGee — championed the legislation creating the council and co-chaired the council for many years. McGee was chairman of the After-School and Out-of-School Time Commission which was formed in 2003 and worked to spread awareness about the importance of expanded learning opportunities.
McGee’s involvement in the council mirrored the belief held by his late father, former Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas W. McGee, who believed everyone deserves a chance and that school and work were pathways to success.
Crighton as a city councilor and House member proved he is not afraid to hear new ideas and tackle challenges. He will be aided on the council by fellow legislators, representatives from state agencies, out-of-school providers, private foundations and others.
The council’s work is really about investing in the future by melding school and after-school opportunities. Crighton is well-suited to helping make that investment pay off.