Illinois Quality Afterschool Resource Bulletin

Spring 2022

The Illinois Quality Afterschool team at the 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

New Course: Fiscal Management

Fiscal management of afterschool programs is more important than ever. A sustainable budget is crucial to a high-quality afterschool program, and sound fiscal management can help ensure that your program receives future funding. Through the U.S. Department of Education’s You for Youth (Y4Y) fiscal management course, you can learn what it takes to create a successful and viable program budget. Key components include 5–7 hours of training on implementation strategies, a 1-hour course on coaching staff, tools, and a library of external resources.

AfterSchool Today

Do you want to learn more about what afterschool programs are doing to support their students nationwide? AfterSchool Today, the bi-annual magazine of the National Afterschool Association, promotes advocacy and education for the out-of-school time (OST) community. The most recent issue highlights racial equity in OST, having meaningful research-based staff development, and strengthening the children and youth caregiving workforce.

Planning for a Game-Changing Summer

Students can create lifelong memories when they attend an excellent summer learning program. The Afterschool Alliance, Every Hour Counts, and the National Summer Learning Association have hosted a webinar titled, Planning for a Game-Changing Summer. This webinar focuses on making a summer program successful, recommendations on effective summer planning, and resources from program leaders.

Where Did All the Afterschool Staff Go?

Staffing shortages have plagued many industries and sectors, including the afterschool field. The Afterschool Alliance has released the results from their most recent COVID-19 out-of-school time (OST) survey results. Survey findings indicate that recruiting and maintaining OST staff are the biggest challenges afterschool providers face.

Diverse Learners

Her Passion for STEM – NASA Podcast

Women continue to be vastly underrepresented in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) sector. In a recent episode of “Houston We Have a Podcast,” NASA’s Kris Brown and Emily Calandrelli discuss the importance of inspiring young women to pursue an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. Brown and Calandrelli describe their paths to STEM careers and how organizations can help young women cultivate an interest in STEM today.

Supporting Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Young People

Several laws and policies negatively impact transgender and gender non-conforming youth. Many of these youth also must endure hostile school climates that deteriorate their self-esteem and mental health. It is, therefore, crucial for them to have a trusted support system. The Afterschool Alliance has written a blog post that provides tips for educators to advocate for trans and gender non-conforming youth in schools.

Understanding Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in High-Quality Instructional Materials

Culturally relevant pedagogy helps students align their academic coursework with their cultural backgrounds. Achieve the Core has released a blog series in which they introduce this teaching method, the curriculum used, and student learning outcomes. One of the tools students learn is critical consciousness; this helps students and educators examine the world around them and consider topics through an equity lens.

Social and Emotional Learning

Cut the Jargon: What We Actually Want for All Students

Although Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Day has passed, the topic remains of interest year-round. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) hosted a webinar called Cut the Jargon: What We Actually Want for All Students. The webinar commemorated SEL Day and educated attendees about SEL. One of the takeaways from the webinar is that SEL can happen inside and outside of the classroom. Schools are not the primary place where SEL happens. Instead, SEL can take place during extracurricular sports or community service activities. SEL also must be built on trust and relationships and driven by interest.

Self-Care Strategies for Educators During the Coronavirus Crisis: Supporting Personal Social and Emotional Well-Being

Self-care is vital to protecting your physical and mental health especially for educators who continue to face numerous challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. WestEd has created a brief that provides self-care strategies for educators, including recommendations for healthy mindsets and behaviors, setting boundaries, and social media intake. While this brief was written in 2020, these self-care techniques continue to be helpful today.

Afterschool Enrichment

The Virtual Edge

Go on a quest to build your technology power, equity power, relationship power, and personalization power. This Y4Y course will help you gain the virtual edge to be smart and flexible about adding hybrid and virtual settings to your in-person program to increase learning and engagement. You can also find ready-to-use tools and visit the virtual library to find more helpful resources.

Three Steps to Getting Started With PBL

Are you unsure how to incorporate project-based learning (PBL) with your students? Edutopia has created a blog post describing how educators can begin to incorporate PBL with three easy steps.

Project-Based Learning is Great, But Students Still Need to Learn Something

Project-based learning is a unique and fun tool for students to use. However, educators need to make sure that students are learning something meaningful. Experts at the Harvard Graduate School of Education created a blog post that provides three ways educators can produce high-quality PBL. The blog post shares that educators who implemented PBL helped engage students in disciplinary practices, meaning youth were acting and thinking like professionals in their desired fields of study.

Youth Engagement in Practice

Youth engagement is a “win-win proposition” that benefits youth, adults, and organizations. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) has created a brief that provides five youth engagement strategies that organizations can use, including preparing youth and adults to be successful, building community and positive relationships, and embracing a culture of vulnerability.

High-Quality Tutoring: An Evidence-Based Strategy to Tackle Learning Loss

As educators support education recovery amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, they need strategies for high-quality tutoring. Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) West has published an article that describes high-quality tutoring and produced three videos from their webinar series about the topic.

The Importance of Feedback

Youth need practical feedback from others to move forward with their education. However, receiving feedback can often feel stressful and fearful, as youth are afraid of being wrong or feeling inferior in front of their peers. Harvard Graduate School of Education provides ways that educators can make feedback less overwhelming for students.

Academic Enrichment

Elevating Core Content with Debate-Inspired Activities

What can you do to engage students with potentially dull grammar topics such as adverbs and adjectives? Have a debate! Edutopia has released a video showing how one educator uses this tool with her students.

Three Strategies to Boost Civics Education

Students today are becoming more engaged in current affairs issues that affect them. Because of this increased engagement, educators should help students have civil discourses about the areas that interest them. This Edutopia article provides three strategies to help students have productive discussions.

Counter-Storytelling in the Science Classroom

It is crucial that all students feel represented in their classrooms, including Black and Brown students. Achieve the Core has released an article describing how educators can support students of color and help them become more involved in STEM through connected and interdisciplinary sciences lessons. Examples include connecting to community issues such as systemic racism and the environment through project-based learning that focuses on science and historical figures like Henrietta Lacks.


Afterschool in the Time of COVID-19

Afterschool programs faced numerous challenges due to COVID-19. However, they were able to persevere and provide care for many students. In Afterschool in the Time of COVID-19, the Afterschool Alliance shares the results of a survey of afterschool programs across the United States. According to this survey, 57% of afterschool programs during Spring 2021 extended their in-person hours to accommodate youth, families, and virtual learning schedules.

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Copyright ©2022 by American Institutes for Research. This publication was developed by AIR in 2022 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.