The team at Illinois Quality Afterschool has compiled this list of resources to help you and your staff provide high-quality 21st CCLC programming. The Resource Bulletin brings you the latest information on afterschool research, best practices, tools, conference proceedings, policy briefs, professional development tools, and activities. We hope you will share this list of resources with your staff.
Family and Community Engagement
The U.S. Department of Education’s You for Youth team has collaborated with afterschool practitioners and leaders to develop a family guidebook template for 21st CCLC grantees. Creating a family guidebook offers a way for programs to inform families about policies and procedures, and it also helps families become more involved in afterschool activities. This template provides suggestions, in an outline form, of possible components to include in your program’s family guidebook.
Every Hour Counts, formerly the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems, has developed a comprehensive set of messaging resources to help afterschool leaders discuss afterschool and other expanded-learning opportunities with stakeholders. They have resources to help afterschool professionals explain the role of expanded-learning in supporting student success, communicate about the impact of high-quality afterschool programs on attendance and graduation rates, academic performance, and social and emotional learning, and slides from a webinar addressing frequently asked questions about developing a message for your afterschool program.
The National Afterschool Association has created a Pinterest Board featuring parent communication ideas. Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo-sharing website on which you can browse, save, and share ideas. The parent communication resources include ideas for parent resource centers, parent communication templates, and activities that parents can do with their student to support academic achievement.
Developed by Scholastic, this short brief outlines 10 ways that educators can help students build their vocabularies. The brief explains each strategy, the research evidence that supports it, and provides suggestions for implementation. (Downloads as a PDF.)
Sponsored by NASA, the Exploration Design Challenge is an opportunity for students to research and design ways to protect astronauts from space radiation. The challenge is linked to NASA and Lockheed Martin’s development of the Orion spacecraft, which will carry astronauts beyond low Earth orbit to an asteroid or to Mars. Protecting astronauts from radiation on these distant travels is an important—and very real—problem that needs solving. There are four challenge categories: grades K–4, grades 5–8, grades 9–12, and individuals or groups.
This updated report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation underscores the importance of ensuring that children, especially those living in poverty or in impoverished communities, develop proficient reading skills by the end of third grade. The research in the report supports the link between reading deficiencies and broader social consequences, and it shows how low achievement in reading impacts an individual's future earning potential. The full report and an executive summary are both available on the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s website.
The National Afterschool Association has pinned several Thanksgiving-related activities on their Pinterest Board. The pinboard includes community service resources, reading and writing activities, and of course food-related activities.
Published in Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, this journal article examines a model for mental health consultation, training, and support for publicly funded recreational afterschool programs in communities of concentrated urban poverty. The model was designed to improve children’s academic, social, and behavioral functioning. The authors assessed children’s mental health needs and examined the feasibility and impact of intervention on program quality and children’s psychosocial outcomes in three afterschool sites, compared to three demographically matched sites that received no intervention. Findings revealed high staff satisfaction and feasibility of intervention, and modest improvements in observed program quality and staff-reported children’s outcomes.
Published by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, Afterschool Matters is a national, peer-reviewed journal with articles dedicated to promoting professionalism, scholarship, and consciousness in the field of afterschool education. The Fall 2013 issue includes articles on professional development, community service, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
Published by The Wallace Foundation and FHI 360, this report includes profiles of 27 cities that have taken steps to improve coordination among their afterschool providers, creating citywide systems designed to support high-quality programs and increase access. The research report explores the prevalence of afterschool coordination, the extent to which large cities have adopted key afterschool coordination components, and the roles of the mayor, city manager, city agencies, and other organizations in providing reliable information and commitment to quality.
This Wallace Foundation report offers guidance to district leaders interested in launching or improving summer learning programs and includes key recommendations that address planning, curriculum and instruction, teacher selection and training, enrichment activities, attendance, academic time on task, and program cost and funding. These recommendations are based on evaluations of summer programs in six urban districts selected for a multi-year demonstration project funded by The Wallace Foundation.
On November 19, the Developmental Studies Center (DSC) is sponsoring a webinar on the many important uses of the new landmark compendium titled Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success. The executive editor and publisher will share ideas on using the compendium's articles for professional development, advocacy, and grant and report writing. This event builds on the November 3 webinar, More Than Just Another “To-do” on the List: The Benefits of Strong School, Principal, and Afterschool/Community Relationships, which DSC also sponsored.
Did your students finish their writing activity 10 minutes early? Do you have some down time before the computer lab is available for your group? The National AfterSchool Association has some suggestions on transition or wait time activities to keep students busy. The activities vary in the amount of space and movement involved, allowing practitioners to find a game for just about every situation.
College and Career Readiness
The American Youth Policy Forum recently hosted a discussion on the role of expanded-learning opportunities in competency-based education systems, including college and career standards. Competency-based education allows students to advance at their own pace and provides differentiated, student-centered instruction and assessment across a full range of competencies. Afterschool programs, which allow students to access unique and engaging learning experiences, can play a valuable role in such systems by augmenting, reinforcing, and applying learning during the school day. This discussion provided an opportunity for afterschool practitioners to hear from leaders who are currently incorporating expanded-learning opportunities into competency-based systems. A summary of the discussion is now available on the American Youth Policy Forum website.
The National Network of Statewide Afterschool Networks has a collection of resources on college and career pathways available free of charge on their website. Resources include an overview on the importance of college and career pathways and strategies and publications that afterschool practitioners can employ to help their students become college and career ready.
If you are looking for new ways to use technology in your afterschool program, check out the American Society for Innovation Design in Education’s blog. A recent post lists 20 ways that educators can use Vine—a mobile app that enables users to create and post 6-second clips—in education. Suggestions include applications for educators and projects for students.
This report from The Wallace Foundation profiles five schools that are strengthening access to arts education as part of a strategy to expand the school day. The report finds that educators at the schools considered arts to be central to their mission, organized the school day to support arts instruction, and saw the arts as improving student engagement. While the report focuses on schools that have extended the school day, there is also useful information for afterschool practitioners: different approaches to arts education, cross-curricular connections, funding, and how the programs benefit students.
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