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Bester program gains accreditation

April 05, 2010|By JANET HEIM
  • Bester Elementary School recently received the National After-School Association Accreditation for its YMCA Before and After School Program. Those shown at the celebration include, from left, Lynn Suter, Hagerstown YMCA Family Services director; B.J. Lushbaugh, site director for the program; D.J. Stouffer, Hagerstown YMCA School Age director; and Bester Elementary Principal Kristi Bachtell.
Submitted photo,

It was an evening of celebration on Feb. 17 as Bester Elementary School received the National AfterSchool Association Accreditation for its YMCA Before and After School Program.

More than 40 people attended the dinner in the school cafeteria. B.J. Lushbaugh, site director for the program, presented awards to all of the students in the program. Staff awards were presented by D.J. Stouffer, Hagerstown YMCA School Age director.

The program is a partnership between the Washington County Board of Education and the Hagerstown YMCA, with 10 after-school sites in Washington County, Lushbaugh said. Bester's program started in 1988 and was the first site.

Bester's program serves 35 students and two staff members - Lushbaugh and assistant Dorothy Atha.

To earn accreditation with the NAA, the program goes through a process of review, improvement and evaluation, with an accreditation team of school, YMCA and community representatives, Lushbaugh said.

"As an accredited program, our standards of daily operation not only meet state licensing requirements, but go above and beyond in all areas of Before and After School care," Lushbaugh wrote in an e-mail.

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She added that the program is successful because of the support of the Hagerstown Y, Bester school staff and school families.

"We have worked very hard to achieve this accreditation and are very proud of our ongoing hard work and dedication," Lushbaugh said.

The Bester program is the only NAA-accredited program in Washington County Public Schools. Citicorp Family Center is the only other NAA-accredited program in the county, Lushbaugh said.

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