School programs

Education company trying to increase participation in after-school programs

Imagine Darye Henry and San Pathak at a family gathering, in a corner strategizing. Henry and Pathak are brothers-in-law, but they’re also co-founders of an education company trying to get more students involved in after-school programs so they can find their passion.

So, yes, sometimes there are discussions about work during family time.

“Women don’t like it,” Pathak said with a laugh.

Henry and Pathak started AfterSchool HQ in 2017. Part of their inspiration for the business was their own experience with afterschool programs. That’s how Pathak found his passion for technology, and an engineering program introduced Henry to coding.

LR: San Pathak and Darye Henry, co-founders of AfterSchool HQ, pose for a photo inside a coworking office in Fishers on May 6, 2022. (Photo/Tyler Fenwick)

“It’s great to be able to replicate this for as many students as possible,” Pathak said.

AfterSchool HQ aims to increase participation in afterschool programs by simplifying the process. Henry is CEO and Pathak is COO.

Participating schools and organizations have profiles where parents can browse programs. Bringing everything together in one place, including registration and payment, should make it easier for parents, schools and all organizations involved.

Outside of Indiana, AfterSchool HQ operates in states like California and Louisiana. Upcoming expansion could take the program as far north as Canada.

The company’s largest partnership to date is with Indianapolis Public Schools. The largest school district in the state will put its afterschool options on the AfterSchool HQ platform, aiming to achieve 40% participation in schools using the program.

A 2018 report by the US Census Bureau showed that the number of children aged 6 to 17 participating in extracurricular activities fell and increased between 1998 and 2014. Sports had the highest participation rate, around 40%. Participation in courses or clubs generally remained between 30% and 35%.

Afterschool Alliance, which works to expand the availability of afterschool programs, reports that for every child in a program in Indiana, three are waiting to be admitted.

AfterSchool HQ tries to solve problems behind the scenes, although both Henry and Pathak have been involved in program management.

For Henry, it was hard to get close because he could see how systemic some issues were. His technological mind wanted to zoom out to solve larger-scale problems.

“It’s not bad to be in the thick of it,” he said. “But for me, I find it difficult to stay there because I see the biggest problem.”

Pathak said he liked being in the thick of it, but he also saw the bigger picture — like when he was teaching Lego robotics. This brings AfterSchool HQ back to its mission.

“I could teach Lego robotics, or I could spend time making sure all kids get Lego robotics,” he said.

Contact editor Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.