School Spotlight: Wayzata Schools’ Community Education
The school day at Meadow Ridge Elementary in Plymouth ends at 2:25 in the afternoon, but when the final bell rings, that doesn’t mean all the kids head straight home for the day.
“Right after school, which is around 2:30, they have a snack and they can go wherever they want to play,” said Eva Crawford, a program assistant with Wayzata Community Ed. “And then it’s pretty much until 6:00.”
The kids hanging out at Meadow Ridge are part of Wayzata’s after-school childcare program. It’s where staff members like Crawford keep them busy with various activities until their parents can pick them up.
“We kind of like to change out the games so it is more interesting, like they don’t have the same thing to play with every day,” Crawford said. About 2,000 children in grades K through 5 are part of this program, which for years was referred to as “Home Base.” That is until Jenni Ebert took over as Wayzata’s Community Ed director in 2018.
“When I first started, it became apparent really early in my time here that there was confusion around the different names that we had for our programs,” Ebert said. “We’re really good at naming everything, and people didn’t necessarily know what those names meant.”
Wayzata Community Ed Gets a Rebrand
To solve that problem, Ebert decided to rename all of the Community Ed programs and make them easier to understand. For example, instead of being called, “Home Base,” this after-school program is now called, “Wayzata Kids.” Ebert wanted a simple name that reminds people it’s a Wayzata School District program where they work with kids.
“Home Base has been around for 20-plus years as a name. We thought people might be attached to it, might feel a sense of loss because they feel really connected to a great program,” Ebert said. “But as we sent it out and talked about the why, people embraced it right away.”
Of course, Wayzata Kids is just one program that falls under the Community Ed umbrella. Other programs include adult classes, facility rentals and volunteer opportunities.
“Community Ed exists really to serve our community and to meet our community needs,” Ebert added.
Ebert hopes that people will continue to embrace all the opportunities Community Ed provides.
“We want to be simple, we want to be easy to understand, we want to be easy to find,” Ebert said. “And we want people to understand all the really wonderful things that we have to offer.”
For a full list of all of the opportunities offered by Wayzata Community Ed, check out the district website.