Illinois Quality Afterschool Resource Bulletin

Spring 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

Summer Learning Resources

The Wallace Foundation has two new resources for planning summer learning programs. The second edition of Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for Success updates a report providing guidance for leaders interested in starting summer learning programs or improving established ones. The Summer Learning Toolkit provides hands-on resources to support the guidance in the report.

Afterschool Matters

The latest issue of the National Institute for Out-of-School Time’s journal, Afterschool Matters, has a range of articles to help you improve your afterschool program. Topics include innovative approaches to nutrition, job-embedded professional development, and new ways to get youth input on expanded learning activities.

Diverse Learners

Adolescent Substance Use, Addiction, and Treatment: A TAG Talk

According to, most adults who have substance use disorders began using alcohol and drugs as adolescents or young adults. The video series, Adolescent Substance Use, Addiction, and Treatment: A TAG Talk, provides information about addressing substance use and addiction in young adults, including effective approaches to treating addiction. Developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health, and partner medical organizations, the video includes discussion guides for parents and for professionals who work with young adults.

Social and Emotional Learning

Building Equitable, Safe and Supportive Schools

Building Equitable, Safe and Supportive Schools: Trauma and Culturally Sensitive Practices for Guidance, a white paper developed by experts from Move This World and American Institutes for Research, explains how trauma-informed and sensitive practices are the core of equitable, safe, and supportive schools. The paper also provides resources and tips educators can use to adopt these practices at schools and in education programs.

Creating School Communities of Courage

How can schools help students feel greater safety, inclusion, and engagement in their education? Creating School Communities of Courage: Lessons from the Field, a new report from the National School Climate Center, is based on a summit that explored this question. Grounded in research on climate, the report is also based on interviews, focus groups, and observations from six school districts who participated in the summit and show promise in this area. The report identifies seven lessons from the field on creating a more positive school climate and lists areas for growth.

Guide to Schoolwide SEL

Social and emotional learning (SEL) often focuses on student needs, but to have an impact at an organizational level, SEL efforts need to include all stakeholders. CASEL’s Guide to Schoolwide SEL helps educators make SEL a systemic endeavor. The guide includes several resources, organized into categories of building awareness, planning, strengthening adult SEL, promoting SEL among students, and practicing continuous improvement.

Afterschool Enrichment

The Why Is Everything

Educators are often looking for ways to help students discover internal motivation and their individual path to learning. This research story from Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Usable Knowledge project explores ways that educators can help students find their motivating “why.” The article includes an interview with Education Lecturer Todd Rose and provides strategies for helping students develop curiosity and motivation.

Participation Cards for Reserved Students

Looking for ways to engage all learners, even those who are reluctant to speak up in groups? This 60-second strategy video from Edutopia shows how to make participation cards that students can use to share their opinion. The cards provide ways for shyer students to join discussions and can also serve as a formative assessment.

Academic Enrichment

Helping Students Become Summer Readers

A new research summary from the Wallace Foundation shares findings from an evaluation of READS, a school-run program that provides students with books and supports to encourage summer reading at home. Evaluating reading skills of 6,000 second- and third-grade students in 59 moderate- to high-poverty schools, the study found that participants gained nearly one month of reading skills. Students in the highest poverty schools made average gains of 1.5 months.

Focusing on the “M” in STEM

Looking for ways to help students master the math in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities? This archived webinar from Click2Science shares strategies for integrating math into afterschool activities. The webinar also provides links to resources and tips for building staff confidence in math.

Science Buddies

Science Buddies is a K–12 nonprofit that has developed a unique library of quality STEM resources that are free for students, parents, and teachers. These resources include standards-aligned lesson plans, career profiles, hands-on activities, and more than 1,000 project ideas.

STEM Learning Takes Flight with Drones

Learn about how one afterschool program used drones to harness technology for student learning. This article from ASCD shares lessons learned in areas such as content integration and community partnerships, and provides tips for implementing a drone program at your afterschool site.

College and Career Readiness

42 Years of CTE Policy: Progress and Lingering Challenges

Education and partner organizations like afterschool programs have changed their approach and goals for preparing students for success after high school. This blog post from the American Youth Policy Forum reflects on the goals of what is now known as career and technical education (CTE) and how it has evolved. The post highlights successes and also outlines challenges that remain in the field of CTE.

Afterschool Programs – Important Partners in CTE Planning and Implementation

This archived webinar from the Afterschool Alliance provides information about the recently reauthorized federal CTE law (Perkins V) and the increased ways afterschool programs can help students find meaningful career pathways. The webinar outlines opportunities for afterschool programs in Perkins V and shares experiences from afterschool leaders who are connecting expanded learning to CTE.


It’s Never Too Soon to Think About Sustainability

Planning sustainability is an important part of maintaining a thriving 21st CCLC program. The U.S. Department of Education’s You for Youth (Y4Y) web portal has a new blog post and webinar on sustaining your 21st CCLC program. The blog post outlines the “triple M” strategy to engage community members and partners: making a program meaningful, memorable, and motivational to the community. In the webinar, afterschool experts present the characteristics of a sustainable program and provide tips and tools for developing a sustainability plan.

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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.