Seattle Leads Way in Enabling Best After-School Enrichment at K-12 Schools, as 6crickets Completes Pilot Period; Prepares National Launch

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After more than a year of using Seattle as its test market for enabling schools and PTAs to bring the best K-12 after-school enrichment to children while they are at schools, 6crickets is concluding its pilot period and readying itself for national launch. The success of the Seattle pilot illustrates parent and school demand for after-school enrichment programs, and positive impact of art, music, coding, etc. on student success.

“With the strong success 6crickets has in Seattle, we are now ready to offer the best extracurricular programs, in a cost-effective and often self-sustaining way, to schools across the U.S.” - Helen Wang, CEO

After more than a year of using Seattle as its test market for enabling schools and PTAs to bring the best K-12 after-school enrichment to children while they are at schools, 6crickets is concluding its pilot period and readying itself for national launch.

6crickets has provided a tailored, turnkey solution to local schools and PTAs to manage after-school enrichment in a cost-effective, and often self-sustaining way. Schools and PTAs have selected the after-school programs from local enrichment providers or volunteer teachers or parents, in a wide range of areas including art, music, drama, chess, sewing, cooking, carpentry, coding, and engineering. The success of 6crickets’ pilot programs in Seattle has led to organic growth in the San Francisco Bay area and across the nation, which will be strongly levered as the company brings what it has learned to the national marketplace.

“Seattle is a great test market,” explained company founder and CEO Helen Wang. “This city has great diversity; its population is highly tech savvy. While open to new things, the public has high expectations for success. What we learned during the past year-plus in Seattle allowed us to test hypothesis and assumptions, discover what works, what doesn’t, what might work in certain communities, and how to rollout and support tailored programs for each school. That expertise brought 6crickets to a level where it is ready for national outreach.”

After-school enrichment – those programs that take place outside standard school hours and go beyond a core academic curriculum – has long been recognized as contributing greatly to a student’s success. As schools across the country face ongoing budgetary pressures, extracurricular activities are often the earliest victims of severe budget cuts. In order to fill in this gap at some schools, parents have taken the lead in providing or securing funding to increase enrichment offerings.

In a public statement, the body that oversees all parent teacher associations made clear that “National PTA believes that the arts, music, literature, dance, drama, and visual arts are central to learning. Infusion of the arts in elementary, secondary, and continuing education curricula is key to the development of students.” Establishing these programs into the school curricula can take years. 6crickets can immediately and efficiently bring such enrichment to after-school hours by partnering with schools and PTAs.

“6crickets works with schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. In some school districts, we are working with more than 50% of the elementary schools,” Dr. Wang continued.

“Coordinating school enrichment is a crazy job and takes so much hard work. This is why we decided to use 6crickets' enrichment management tool. The paperwork problem is solved, and now we can focus that energy on organizing amazing classes for our kids,” said the PTA enrichment co-chairs from Lake Forest Park elementary, in suburban Seattle.

Delivering these type of programs to schools can also be a challenge for providers. Elliott Neff, the CEO of Chess4Life, an organizer of chess clubs at schools, shared frustrations faced by both school enrichment coordinators and enrichment providers: “After many years of working with many schools, we have seen how much work it is for after-school enrichment coordinator to manage the effort, how hard it is for parents to go to numerous places to figure out after-school enrichment, and how time-consuming it is for us to interact with various schools individually to provide up-to-date rosters or effect any changes on classes.”

6crickets provides a streamlined, seamless, technology platform to overcome these hurdles. “6crickets has automated this [enrichment coordination] effort with a one-stop online registration service unifying registrations and roster management across different vendors or volunteer teachers, saving hours of time and stress for everyone,” Mr. Neff concluded.

Dr. Wang further commented: “Given the lack of after-school enrichment in some of Seattle’s lower-income areas, we were particularly committed to helping schools and PTAs include wide-ranging enrichment programs with the core academic curriculum to this population. Illustrating our belief that all kids deserve the best enrichment programs, we learned that the demand was strongest where the need was greatest.”

“Being a Title I school, not only are our funds limited but our list of volunteers to coordinate enrichment has been empty all year. The 6crickets team was literally instrumental in me pulling off a spring lineup for our students.” wrote the PTA president of Sanislo elementary school.

The test pilot in Seattle ran for more than a year.

“We learned important and valuable things from our schools and PTA partners and have built and perfected a platform hand-in-hand with them,” Dr. Wang concluded. “With the strong success 6crickets has in Seattle, we are now ready to offer the best extracurricular programs, in a cost-effective and often self-sustaining way, to schools across the U.S.”

6crickets will begin its nation-wide rollout before this year’s back-to-school season.

About 6crickets

6crickets is a Seattle-based company with the mission of bringing the best enrichment to every child through advanced technologies for parents, schools, and enrichment providers. Tested in the tech-savvy market of Seattle, WA for more than a year, 6crickets provides a turn-key solution for schools, PTAs or PTOs to manage after-school enrichment in a cost-effective, and often self-sustaining way. Currently, 151 schools and 531 providers, have utilized 6crickets to bring vital programs of art, music, drama, coding, etc., to 15,617 students right at their schools. For several Title 1 schools, 6crickets has made enrichment possible for their students which would be otherwise unavailable. 6crickets is run by a team of computer scientists, business leaders, moms and dads, and PTA volunteers.

For more information, please see https://www.6crickets.com.

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Josef Blumenfeld, EdTech180
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