About the Illinois Quality Afterschool Project
The Illinois Quality Afterschool Program at AIR, funded by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), provides technical assistance and professional development to all 21st CCLC grantees in Illinois.
This 5-year initiative is designed to ensure that 21st CCLC grantees in Illinois receive the necessary assistance — including training, tools, resource materials, and expertise — to deliver high-quality afterschool programs that can strengthen student engagement and academic achievement. AIR employs a multi-tiered approach in providing technical assistance to the grantees and ISBE that includes resource provision addressing program implementation; a quarterly newsletter focused on quality programming; support for evaluation, and continuous improvement; conferences and workshops to address general programmatic issues; targeted technical assistance and professional development through monthly webinars; site visits to address the unique situations of grantees; and technology supports such as web sites and databases.
AIR's objectives for this work are informed by and aligned with the Illinois State Board of Education's (ISBE) FY12 statewide objectives for the 21st CCLC program and include:
- To provide technical assistance, professional development, and resource materials that are responsive to the specific needs and circumstances of 21st CCLC grantees.
- To increase ISBE's and its grantees' access to and use of up-to-date research-based practices and emerging promising practices for afterschool programs.
- To strengthen grantees' skills for embedding academic content into afterschool activities.
- To increase grantees' knowledge and use of college and career readiness strategies.
- To increase grantees' knowledge and use of social-emotional learning strategies.
- To increase grantees' knowledge and use of effective strategies for collaborating with schools, families, and community organizations.
- To increase grantees' knowledge and use of program management approaches that strengthen program effectiveness and sustainability.
- To increase grantees' knowledge and use of strategies, tools, and procedures through which they can continually assess effectiveness and improve the quality of their afterschool programs.