Illinois Quality Afterschool Resource Bulletin

Spring 2020

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

Coaching Guide for Expanded Learning Professionals

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time has developed a new coaching guide. The guide covers core coaching competencies: relationships, communication, principles of adult learning, professionalism, and continuous quality improvement. It also outlines effective coaching strategies. The guide can be used by both program leaders to coach their staff and by external consultants.

Sustaining Passion for the Out-of-School Time Field

A new article in the Journal of Youth Development, “Sustaining Passion: Findings from an Exploratory Study of the OST Program Workforce,” examines results from a survey of 264 out-of-school time (OST) professionals who shared how they felt about their field. Respondents reported that they found value in the relationships they formed with youth and seeing them develop over time, as well as the connections they felt with coworkers and the community. Respondents also said that overall the OST field lacks foundational workforce elements, such as financial stability, a competitive level of pay, and benefits.

Diverse Learners

The Afterschool Leadership Landscape: Supporting and Strengthening Racial Equity

The National Afterschool Association (NAA) has started an initiative to close the racial leadership gap among afterschool programs and the youth they serve and to advance equity in the afterschool field. With its broader strategy to close the leadership gap, NAA is working to build the capacity of leaders of color. One part of this effort is a new report by NAA and Policy Studies Associates. The report identifies a racial leadership gap across the nonprofit sector, including afterschool, and provides recommendations for supporting emerging leaders of color.

Social and Emotional Learning

CASEL CARES Initiative

In response to recent challenges in education and surrounding communities, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has launched CASEL CARES, a new initiative that connects the social and emotional learning (SEL) community with experts to address how SEL can be most helpful in response to today’s circumstances. The initiative has included a webinar series on different SEL topics, including the importance of SEL, supporting SEL at home, and resilience.

Coping in Hard Times

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has developed fact sheets on how families, youth, and community organizations cope during times of financial difficulty. Each fact sheet helps the audience understand how economic challenges can affect them and their sense of safety. The fact sheets also provide tips for how individuals and organizations can promote a sense of security, calm, self-efficacy, connectedness, and hope.

Academic Enrichment

Y4Y Updated Literacy Course

You for Youth (Y4Y), the U.S. Department of Education web portal for 21st CCLC practitioners, has an updated literacy course. Offerings include an introduction to afterschool literacy, implementation strategies, staff coaching, a list of ready-to-use tools, and a “learn more library” with links to external resources.

Knowledge on the Go Lessons

Knowledge on the Go, an online instructional resource platform, is providing some of its materials free of charge. Resources include written materials for math (Grades K–12) and daily instructional videos for English language arts (Grades K–8), math (Grades K–12), and science (Grades 3–5). The site posts new video lessons and content updates daily.

Mistakes Tell Us What Students Are Ready to Learn

Mistakes provide opportunities for students to learn and for educators to reflect on instructional practices and learning goals. This blog post from Achieve the Core, a website that supports the implementation of Common Core State Standards, describes how one educator revised his approach to understanding student mistakes. New strategies include using a student’s mistake to ask what learning goals a teacher should pursue and then customizing learning to support these goals.

Connecting Math and Science to Reading and Writing

A new article from Edutopia explores how educators are integrating math and science with English language arts. The article outlines the benefits of integrating these content areas, provides instructional examples, and discusses how educators address some of the challenges.

Inside Mathematics

Inside Mathematics provides online mathematics instruction support for educators around the world. Resources include tools for educators, video lessons, Common Core State Standard resources, performance assessment tasks, and math Problems of the Month with video examples.

Family Engagement

Supporting Project-Based Learning at Home

Project-based learning (PBL) can take place in environments outside of school or afterschool programs. This article from Edutopia shows how educators are supporting project-based learning when students are at home. The article includes guidance for educators and strategies for supporting parents as they engage in PBL with their youth.

Keeping Kids Physically Active at Home

It is easy to forget about physical activity during times of stress, but staying active and keeping a routine can promote physical and mental well-being. This article from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation has some fun, family-friendly activities that adults and youth can try together.

College and Career Readiness

Toolkit on Education and Careers for Youth

The U.S. government’s website has a new toolkit to help youth prepare for postsecondary education and careers. Tools address topics such as evaluating education options, financing education, career exploration, technology, making an education and career plan, and how to learn about existing jobs.


Communication Planning for Sustainability

No matter where you are in your grant cycle, having a communication plan to help you collaborate with partners and stakeholders is crucial to the program’s long-term viability. This publication from the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments provides guidance on developing an eight-step communication plan, a strategic roadmap for communication activities, and ways to support the sustainability of successes in your program.


Social Media TestDrive

Digital citizenship, or the ability to engage in safe and responsible online communication and think critically about online content, is a key skill for youth. Social Media TestDrive lets young people learn and practice digital citizenship skills through a social media simulation. Each TestDrive module teaches a specific social media skill, such as managing privacy settings, smart self-presentation, standing up to cyberbullying, and news literacy. The site also has a guide for educators.

Online Learning in Afterschool

Online learning can enrich instruction and provide educational opportunities, but there are also many challenges. Afterschool Alliance has compiled a series of resources for afterschool programs that are providing virtual instruction. These include case studies from afterschool programs, strategies for reaching underserved youth, privacy considerations, and professional development resources for educators.

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Copyright ©2020 by American Institutes for Research. This publication was developed by AIR in 2020 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.