Illinois Quality Afterschool Resource Bulletin

Fall 2019

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. This 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

Human Resources Course

You for Youth (Y4Y), the U.S. Department of Education’s online resource for 21st CCLC programs, has a new human resources course for grantees. The course covers nine key strategies that afterschool leaders can use to manage and develop their staff, covering everything from hiring to training to building a positive work environment to managing staff performance.

Safety First: Protect the Young People You Treasure

From a sudden thunderstorm knocking down power lines and flooding roads to a family dispute moving from the home to your afterschool program, emergencies happen. Y4Y has developed a suite of tools to help 21st CCLC programs prepare for emergencies. Resources include a training session on developing and implementing a safety plan, a template for a site coordinator safety checklist, and resources for communicating with families about safety.

Putting Data to Work for Young People: A Ten-Step Guide for Expanded Learning Intermediaries

How can expanded learning practitioners gather and use data to inform decisions that support afterschool and summer programs, recruit students, and allocate resources? A new 10-step guide from RAND offers insights into collecting, analyzing, and managing data to improve decision-making. The guide serves as a starting point to help improve the ways in which afterschool professionals use data to benefit the programs, communities, and young people they serve.

Diverse Learners

Including Students with Disabilities

Afterschool programs serve students with mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders, but staff and other stakeholders are not always prepared to fully support these students. The Summer 2019 issue of AfterSchool Today, the official publication of the National AfterSchool Association, addresses the topic of disability inclusion. Topics include an overview of disability inclusion and professional development in afterschool, a special report on trends in disability inclusion, and an overview of promising practices in providing sensory-inclusive experiences for all students.

How Afterschool Fosters Protective Factors

A youth’s experiences influence whether they engage in healthy or unhealthy behaviors. A new issue brief from the Afterschool Alliance explores ways afterschool programs are promoting protective factors or experiences that encourage youth to engage in healthy behavior and avoid unhealthy choices. Afterschool programs promote protective factors through safe and supportive environments, helping students form positive bonds with staff and peers, providing a place where they can develop confidence and a sense of agency and practice responsible decision making and interpersonal skills. The issue brief provides an overview of the research as well as real-world examples from afterschool programs.

Social and Emotional Learning

Principals’ Perspectives on How Social and Emotional Learning Can Prepare Children and Transform Schools

Ready to Lead: A 2019 Update of Principals’ Perspectives on How Social and Emotional Learning Can Prepare Children and Transform Schools shares principal views on integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) in schools. Following up on a 2017 report, this new study finds that principals stand ready to bring systemic, schoolwide SEL to their schools, but they need greater support from state and district leaders to ensure every student has access to a high-quality education. The report was produced by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

Afterschool Enrichment

Mistakes Grow Your Brain

Whether we like it or not, learning often entails mistakes. This article from YouCubed, an organization dedicated to helping all students succeed in math through growth mindsets and innovative teaching, explains how mistakes cause our brains to spark and grow. The article also describes how “mistakes friendly” classrooms can encourage students to increase their effort and perseverance, which also enhances learning.

Academic Enrichment

Arts Integration

A recent study found that arts integration in fifth-grade science classrooms led to students’ long-term retention of science concepts. The approach was at least as successful as conventional science teaching. It was particularly helpful for students with the lowest reading scores. The study findings are published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education, and public media station KQED has a story on how art can help center a student’s learning experience. For strategies on integrating the arts into your STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program, check out this archived webinar from Click2Science.

The 1619 Project Curriculum

The 1619 Project, inaugurated with a special issue of The New York Times Magazine, challenges us to reframe U.S. history by marking the year when the first enslaved Africans forcibly arrived in Virginia as our nation’s foundational date. To support educators in using this resource, the Pulitzer Center has created reading guides, activities, and other resources that will assist with the implementation of The 1619 Project in schools and other places of learning.

Right Question Institute

The Right Question Institute (RQI) is a nonprofit educational organization that provides strategies to build people’s skills to ask better questions, participate in decisions that affect them, advocate for themselves, and partner with service providers. Resources for educators include lesson planning guides, instructional videos, webinars and podcasts, and activities for different subject areas and grade bands. Free registration is required.

Family Engagement

Sharing College and Career Options with Families

Families play an essential role in helping students navigate options for college and career after high school. This blog post from Edutopia describes how one district hosted a middle and high school information event that introduced families to their students’ post-graduation options. Students co-planned the event, and the district also worked closely with the community to provide resources and information.

Family Engagement Playbook

Educators are taking steps to include family members as essential partners in designing efforts to build relationships between families and strengthen their ability to support their children’s learning and healthy development. Family Engagement Playbook, a new resource from the Global Family Research Project, provides a collection of promising research-based approaches to strengthen individual competencies and organizational support for family engagement.

College and Career Readiness

Afterschool Programming as a Lever to Enhance and Provide Career Readiness Opportunities

Out-of-school time is an opportunity for students to connect with job skills and expand career readiness in authentic and engaging settings. This brief from the College & Career Readiness & Success Center at AIR looks at ways expanded learning professionals can leverage afterschool time to prepare students at every stage of career development, from career awareness in kindergarten through sixth grade to career training in eleventh and twelfth grades. The brief offers recommendations for state leaders who are interested in using afterschool programming for career readiness.


Afterschool Programs Keep Kids Safe

A new report, From Risk to Opportunity: Afterschool Programs Keep Kids Safe, reinforces the vital role that afterschool programs play in turning the hours after school and before parents return home from work into a time of learning and growth for our young people. Produced by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, the report finds that the peak in juvenile crime on school days occurs between 2 and 6 p.m. The report includes state-level data and provides compelling examples of afterschool programs making a positive difference in young people’s lives. Consider sharing the report’s findings with your stakeholders to show the importance of afterschool.

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Copyright ©2019 by American Institutes for Research. This publication was developed by AIR in 2019 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.