Illinois Quality Afterschool Resource Bulletin

Fall 2018

The Illinois Quality Afterschool team at American Institutes for Research 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.

Program Management

Virtual Institute for New 21st CCLC Grantees

The U.S. Department of Education’s You for Youth (Y4Y) web portal for 21st CCLC practitioners is offering a six-part virtual institute for new grantees. Topics include an introduction to the 21st CCLC program, afterschool program management, building your team and stakeholder relationships, implementing programming with fidelity, family engagement, and sustainability. The webinars are archived on the Y4Y website and include resources and handouts.

Youth-Adult Partnerships

Providing opportunities for authentic youth input and creating partnerships are important to both program success and youth development. This brief from Education Northwest explores adult-youth partnerships, including their importance, how to cultivate them, and why organizations should invest in and promote them. The brief also provides tips for educators and youth.

Staff Development: Where to Start

Staff development is an important component of providing high-quality afterschool programming. This webinar from American Institutes for Research’s Beyond the Bell suite of professional development services provides an overview of foundational elements of staff development. A free template for creating a professional development plan is also available until November 5.

Making Meetings Work

How can educators host meetings that balance the competing demands of colleagues’ time with a desire for collaboration and connection? This research story from the Harvard Graduate School of Education provides guidance on holding productive meetings for educators. It also provides solutions to common dilemmas, such as silence in meetings, an activity not working, and a lull in group energy.

Branding Tips

Successful afterschool recruitment and outreach depends on crafting compelling stories that motivate people to support your program. This blog post from Afterschool Alliance has suggestions for developing an afterschool brand that engages and inspires stakeholders. Suggestions include identifying your program’s unique character, working with partners to share communications resources, and highlighting your program’s impact.

Social Media: Where to Begin

Social media can be a useful tool for afterschool programs, and it is also popular among youth, especially teenagers. This blog post from Y4Y provides an overview of social media apps that are popular today, including recent statistics on their usage among teenagers. It also provides guidance for using social media in an afterschool program.

Social and Emotional Learning

Trauma-Sensitive Schools Training Package

The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments’ Trauma-Sensitive Schools Training Package has several guides to help schools and districts adopt a trauma-sensitive approach to education. The resource includes an implementation guide, an overview of trauma and its impact, and guidance for building and leading trauma-sensitive schools. Afterschool programs can also use the guide independently or in collaboration with their partner schools and districts.

Preparing for Effective Social and Emotional Learning Implementation

Successful implementation of social and emotional learning (SEL) programs is a key part of their lasting success. This brief by Harvard’s Easel Lab describes features and best practices of effective social and emotional learning programs and offers a set of recommendations for educators implementing SEL programs.

Afterschool Enrichment

Supporting Student-Centered Learning

KnowledgeWorks, with support from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, has created a toolkit to help educators engage in conversations about how our changing world affects student learning. The toolkit contains detailed facilitation instructions and activities that can be modified for different stakeholder groups. Topics include exploring future graduate profiles, designing student-centered learning experiences, mapping a learning community, and prototyping learning solutions.

The Healthy Afterschool Movement

As the movement to promote healthy living and wellness through afterschool gains momentum, advocates are assessing the movement’s progress and future. This article in Education Week outlines the movement’s progress and links to research and resources. Education Week provides access to a limited number of articles when readers complete the free registration.

Taking a Big-Picture Approach to Wellness

Youth wellness is a key part of an afterschool program’s support for educating the whole child. This issue brief from the Afterschool Alliance advocates for a “big-picture” approach to wellness, which includes healthy eating and physical activity combined with social and emotional learning. In addition to explaining the importance of supporting student wellness, the brief provides examples of wellness practices and strategies that afterschool programs are currently using. An issue brief summary document is also available.

How Afterschool Programs Can Support Youth Voice

Many young people who are interested in improving their communities are speaking up and trying to make change through civic engagement. This archived webinar from the Afterschool Alliance provides guidance on how expanded learning programs can support youth who want to advocate for issues that are important to them. The webinar also offers suggestions on connecting youth voice and engagement to Lights On Afterschool advocacy events. Free registration is required.

Academic Enrichment

What Is STEAM?

With the growing focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in afterschool, it is tempting to think of the arts in opposition to STEM subjects. This blog post from Click2Science explains how afterschool programs can integrate the arts into STEM programming to offer STEAM. The blog post describes the characteristics of STEAM projects and provides examples of STEAM activities.

Radical Math

Students find math more meaningful when they are able to connect it to real-world situations. Radical Math is a resource that helps educators integrate economic and social justice issues into math curriculum and instruction. The website has links to more than 700 lesson plans, articles, charts, graphs, datasets, maps, and books that help educators support students in using math to understand and solve social problems.

Supporting All Learners With Complex Texts

How can educators help students with varying reading abilities access and learn from complex texts? This blog post from Achieve the Core helps educators provide scaffolding and supports to help all readers. Suggestions include supporting vocabulary, pre-annotating texts with key ideas, using questions as scaffolds, and allowing time for reflection and discussion.

College and Career Readiness

Afterschool and Summer Learning: A City Strategy to Support College and Career Readiness

Increased student attendance and engagement in school, higher academic achievement, and graduating with the necessary skills, experience, and education to pursue postsecondary education or career are all components of college and career readiness. Because high-quality expanded learning programs are associated with these outcomes, some city leaders are looking to afterschool and summer learning programs to ensure that young citizens are college and career ready. This report from the National League of Cities provides examples from promising expanded learning programs and describes ways that their local communities can support them.


Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, CareerOneStop is an online resource to help individuals explore careers; learn about salaries and education and skill requirements of different jobs; find local training; and match skills with careers and jobs. Afterschool programs can use this site to help students explore careers that interest them and set education and career goals.

Classroom Management

Classroom Collaboration

Collaborative learning supports social and emotional learning and is also a key part of successful group activities. This resource from Illinois Classrooms in Action provides an overview of collaborative learning as well as a 60-minute professional development guide with facilitator’s notes and presentation slides.

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Copyright ©2018 by American Institutes for Research. This publication was developed by AIR in 2018 and was funded by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) with support by the U.S. Department of Education. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the AIR or any other source. This publication is in the public domain. Authorization to reproduce and disseminate it in whole or in part is granted as long as appropriate acknowledgment is given.