News from the Field: The Lights On for Learning DJ Club

The Lights On for Learning 21st CCLC at John Deere Middle School began its current program in the beginning of 2015, and we already have close to 300 students participating in the program. Our program offers 10 different clubs that students can join, as well as core academic activities. 

One popular club has been the DJ (disc jockey) Club, which was recently featured in the Quad-City Times. To participate in the DJ Club, students had to complete an application and meet academic requirements. If applicants needed help with academics to participate in the club, they attended the tutoring and academic enrichment parts of our 21st CCLC. 

As suggested by the name, students in the DJ Club learn about running a DJ business. Since we had just launched the program, staff and students had to become familiar with the new DJ equipment and the process of being a DJ for a school dance. We learned quickly and went on to DJ four dances at John Deere this semester. Every week students in the DJ Club reviewed previous dances, discussed what worked and what should be changed, selected and previewed music, planned marketing, learned about the technology related to the DJ equipment, and reviewed budgets. The students enjoyed the experience and the recognition they received from classmates after they worked as a DJ for the dance. 

Next year, we plan to collaborate with some of the other clubs in Lights On for Learning. The Tech Club, for example, will use Google docs to create an online Google Docs form that dance attendees could use to request songs. They will create another form to get patron feedback. 

Now that our students are more familiar with the DJ business, we are exploring ways to develop community partnerships. Professional DJs in the community have expressed interest in working with us to help the students learn more about what it takes to have a successful career as a DJ. We are also investigating inviting guest speakers from the entertainment industry to talk about the business side of working as a DJ. 

One of the exciting things about the program is that it has already become self-sustaining. We invested in the equipment at the beginning of the program, and now we are making money from the services we provide at dances at John Deere. In addition to sustaining the DJ club, we hope this income can also support some of our other afterschool programming. 

If you would like to learn more about the Lights On for Learning DJ Club, you can read the article in the Quad-City Times.