The Illinois Quality Afterschool team at SEDL 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.
About the Illinois 21st CCLC Program
Got questions about the Illinois 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program? We’ve got answers! The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has created a page of frequently asked questions (and answers) in response to stakeholder inquiries about the Illinois 21st CCLC program. These questions are now posted on the Illinois Quality Afterschool website.
Family and Community Engagement
Celebrate the 16th annual Lights On Afterschool Oct. 22, 2015! During this nationwide event organized by the Afterschool Alliance, afterschool programs open their doors to families, friends, neighbors, and community leaders to join the celebration. Guests take part in activities and learn about the important role afterschool plays in the lives of children, families, and communities. Visit the Illinois ACT Now Coalition for information on Illinois Lights On Afterschool resources and the national Lights On Afterschool website for additional event planning and promotional resources.
Community schools, collaborations between the school and other community resources and organizations, create a wide range of supports for children, youth, families, and community members—an approach to education that many districts and cities are adopting. This resource guide from ExpandED Schools examines the role of expanded learning in the New York City Community Schools Initiative and outlines promising practices in the initiative. It also offers recommendations to ensure that the broad network of Community Schools get the most out of their expanded learning efforts.
This research brief from the RAND Corporation describes the near-term effects of voluntary summer learning programs provided by five urban school districts to large numbers of struggling low-income elementary students in Summer 2013. Early results of the assessment show that students who attended the 5-week programs entered school in the fall with stronger mathematics skills than those who did not. Additionally, five factors had a statistically significant association with mathematics or reading outcomes: consistent attendance, more hours of instruction, teachers with grade-level experience, orderliness of summer sites, and instructional quality.
To capitalize on the role of out-of-school programs in engaging traditionally underrepresented communities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), in 2011, 21st CCLC launched an initiative to incorporate high-quality STEM activities into program offerings. This brief from the Harvard Family Research Project highlights three federal interagency collaborations that bring engaging, hands-on experiences involving the STEM fields into out-of-school time learning and connect STEM professionals with students in high-need, low-performing schools.
While there are a number of well-documented benefits to youth engagement in afterschool activities, programs often struggle to recruit youth and sustain their participation over time. “This Is Their House, Too”: An Afterschool Space Designed for and by Teenagers, a case study from the Harvard Family Research Project, explores what makes one out-of-school program a successful place of learning and development for young people. The profile shows how the program uses “intentional informality” to develop spaces so that teenagers feel that they have room to be themselves while also knowing there are caring adults around them when they need guidance or mentorship. The case study concludes with takeaway practices for other practitioners to consider when designing programming for adolescents.
Good attendance is key to student success, and afterschool programs can play a critical role in partnering with schools to support and reinforce good attendance habits. To help educators promote good attendance year round, Attendance Works is hosting its annual September is Attendance Awareness Month. The Attendance Works website has planning tools and promotional materials available for schools and other organizations to use.
In 2003, The Wallace Foundation began an initiative to help five cities develop afterschool systems, a coordination of efforts and resources among government agencies, private funders, and afterschool programs. Growing Together, Learning Together, a Wallace Perspective report, focuses on the four components of afterschool system building that the most current evidence and experience suggest are essential: strong leadership from major players, coordination that fits local context, effective use of data, and a comprehensive approach to quality.
The beginning of the school year provides an opportunity to meet new school-day staff and renew relationships. This blog post from the Center for the Collaborative Classroom offers ideas and strategies for coordinating with school leaders so you can make the most of your afterschool program.
Working in an afterschool program involves taking on many roles and interacting with a variety of people, including staff, parents, and children. This article from the National AfterSchool Association outlines effective communication techniques that afterschool practitioners can use to help maintain a clear vision of the program's goals, clarify expectations of staff and students, and assure parents that their children are in good hands.
The benefits of afterschool programs can only be realized if youth are engaged and take full advantage of the opportunities before them. Leave Them Wanting More!: Engaging Youth in Afterschool, a commentary from the Harvard Family Research Project, explores the different dimensions along which afterschool programs can engage youth and offers promising practices for afterschool programs to do this well. The article identifies and discusses four dimensions: cognitive engagement, behavioral engagement, social engagement, and emotional engagement.
Published by America’s Promise Alliance, Expanded Learning: Expanded Opportunity profiles four communities using out-of-school time to boost equity, academics for students in low-income neighborhoods, and low-performing schools. The report highlights the importance and challenges of topics like community collaboration, accurately assessing progress, student voice, and non-academic, or “soft,” skills.
How can afterschool systems best leverage data to build, grow, and sustain their efforts? Hosted by the American Youth Policy Forum and Afterschool Alliance, this webinar recording includes a discussion among afterschool system leaders on how they are using program data to support the growth and development of their systems.
Despite the recent attention this topic has received, efforts to define and measure social and emotional competencies in afterschool settings are still emerging. This brief from Beyond the Bell, an expanded learning initiative from American Institutes for Research, provides an overview of social-emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom and afterschool. It also discusses the latest research and outlines strategies for fostering SEL in afterschool programs.
Social-emotional learning is important for students of all ages. This blog post from ExpandED Schools discusses the latest research on cultivating social-emotional skills among five- and six-year-olds.
In this Afterschool Alliance webinar recording, "Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework," researchers from University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research discuss the findings of their newly released report, which provides evidence from child/youth development, cognitive science, psychology, and learning theory. Educators, out-of-school time practitioners, policymakers, and funders can use these findings to ground their work in a firm understanding of important goals for human development.
The beginning of the school year means a new beginning—and new students. This blog post from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning lists several ice breaker activities that educators can use to help students get to know each other. There is also an infographic to print or share on social media.
Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity is a special report completed as part of the Afterschool Alliance’s study, America After 3 PM. The publication concentrates on parents’ reports of efforts made by afterschool programs to help improve the health and physical fitness of children and youth around the country. It also describes areas where afterschool programs can better meet the needs of students and families when it comes to health and wellness and outlines steps afterschool programs can take to help make positive change for students’ overall health.
Afterschool Matters is an e-magazine produced by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time biannually. The spring 2015 issue has articles on a range of topics: supporting girls in taking positive risks, planning professional development, programs for high school youth, STEM programming, and out-of-school time work with boys and young men of color.