Partnership for After School Education


Strong leadership is essential to the success of a good afterschool program. John Curtis has been offering his leadership in afterschool for 36 years and his experience is evident in the kind of afterschool program he currently runs. Located in the far reaches of Queens, John’s program is home to the Champions’ Club and their award-winning dance troupe.

John has been working with Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation (SASF) since 1995. As site director, he ran a particularly arts based program, but did not lose sight of achieving some academic balance. If a participant was failing to meet the requirements for promotion or graduation, John required that they receive one-on-one tutoring until they did. He simply refused to leave any of his participants behind.

He is also the creator of the program’s innovative and highly successful dance troupe, composed of nearly one hundred of the program’s participants. They are now regular performers at Walt Disney World in Florida, dancing there for the sixth time this February. They have also performed at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, Massachusetts for the last three years, dancing for a sold out crowd on numerous occasions.

But perhaps most telling of John’s commitment to the youth in his program is his concern for the youth and their wellbeing. He won’t leave until the last child has found their way home, circling the block until he’s sure there are no stragglers. He will not hesitate to call parents, providing reports on academic performance, program participation, and their general conduct at the afterschool program. He has helped participants shed the stigma of being a special education student by working with them to gain acceptance to some of the most prestigious high schools in New York City. In working with his youth, John focuses relentlessly on making the theme of his program a reality: “How to Become a Superstar Student.”