Since Vista Magnet Middle School opened in 2007, the Boys & Girls Club of Vista has been there to offer programs before and after school.
The partnership has been particularly strong and productive, Principal Jose Manuel Villarreal said.
“They go above and beyond what is expected,” he said. “They help students to excel academically and socially.”
The employees that coordinate the activities there even review lesson plans from each teacher at the school so they can better help students get ahead.
Based on the strength of the partnership, Matt Koumaras, the club’s executive director, received a Partners in Educational Excellence Award from the Association of California School Administrators.
Koumaras said he was shocked and flattered to get the award, but reiterated that it’s a team effort at the club that has led to its successes.
“We’ve got staff people there that are proactive in talking to parents and teachers and finding out what kind of activities the kids should be doing,” he said.
Villarreal said he nominated Koumaras for the award because he and the coordinators have stuck with the school, even when resources were scarce.
“It’s rare that you find a partnership like that,” Villarreal said. “He has just been a consistent figure for us to truly support our families.”
The club also runs a similar program at Madison Middle School, which has been in operation since 2005.
When Vista Unified schools stopped offering middle school sports a few years ago, the club stepped in to give students the change to participate in a variety of activities, including football, volleyball and soccer.
The club’s employees always come to the campus with a smile and prepared to make sure that students feel they belong there, Villarreal said.