Illinois Quality Afterschool Resource Bulletin - Winter 2014

Winter 2014

The team at Illinois Quality Afterschool 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.

Family and Community Engagement

Real Men Read

This video from PBS Learning Media highlights a literacy program designed to foster a love of reading among male students through community engagement. Reading Specialist Marilu Bicknell in Glassboro, NJ, was concerned by statistics showing that young boys are more interested in sports than books, so she created the Real Men Read Literacy Project at the Thomas E. Bowe Elementary School. The program consists of regular breakfasts with men in the community (including alumni, the town's mayor, athletes, and school janitors) and an afterschool book club for boys to explore various book genres with their peers. The website includes a video about the program and discussion questions.

Creating a Community of Practice to Support English Language Learner Literacy Subscription Required

“Learning Together: Creating a Community of Practice to Support English Language Learner Literacy” is a case study that examines an afterschool, bilingual family literacy program that brought together several groups to form a community of practice. The community of practice worked to support the literacy development of English language learners and their families. The authors explore the degree to which parents, teachers, students, and other school personnel interact within an afterschool family literacy program and learn from each other as a community of practice. They found that family literacy nights offered opportunities for collaboration among different communities of practice that did not exist during the regular school day. They suggest that participating in family literacy nights can be an important way to connect various school-based groups to one another and to linguistically diverse families, creating a community of practice united by participants' shared interest in literacy development. The article is published in the journal Language, Culture and Curriculum.

Academic Enrichment

Afterschool and the Common Core State Standards

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, has produced an issue brief on Afterschool and the Common Core State Standards. The brief outlines the education environment that led to the development of the standards and their purpose. It also explains how afterschool programs can help schools implement Common Core State Standards and provides examples of specific programs and activities that support implementation. In addition to the issue brief, the Afterschool Alliance has also created an informational one pager on afterschool and the Common Core State Standards.

Getting a Head Start on the Common Core

Published by California-based Summer Matters, this report describes how children and youth participate in summer learning experiences that prepare them for the new expectations and teaching strategies they will face under the Common Core State Standards. It illustrates the unique opportunity summer learning programs give educators working to implement the Common Core State Standards to experiment with new lesson plans and instructional strategies and assess their effectiveness in a low-pressure, but genuine learning environment.

Supporting Literacy with Y4Y (Webinar)

The U.S. Department of Education’s You for Youth team is hosting a webinar entitled Supporting Literacy with Y4Y on Wednesday, February 19, 2014, at 2 p.m. CST. The webinar will explore how out-of-school time programs can support comprehensive literacy efforts, discuss specific strategies for working with students who read below grade level, investigate how to support students’ language and literacy skills by involving families and building community partnerships, and develop ideas about integrating literacy into your program using the Y4Y portal.

Computing and Engineering in Afterschool

The number of jobs requiring proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields is projected to grow by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is almost double the growth of non-STEM occupations. Published by the Afterschool Alliance, this issue brief explores how afterschool programs can take advantage of their flexible learning environments to help students develop STEM skills. The brief also discusses underrepresented populations in STEM careers and the current state of K–12 computing and engineering education.


Click2Science is an interactive, professional development site for trainers, coaches, site directors, and frontline staff/volunteers working in out-of-school time programs serving children and youth. The site offers professional development resources, including videos and a professional community of practice. The site is free and requires user registration.

Improving Reading Comprehension Through Holistic Intervening and Tutoring During After-School With High Risk Minority Elementary School Students Subscription Required

Published in the journal Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, this article examines the effect of a holistic afterschool intervention on reading comprehension for at-risk students in grades 2 through 5. The study showed encouraging results: The 91 student participants showed gains in reading comprehension scores after the intervention. Results of afterschool tutoring lend support to the use of peer tutoring in afterschool in elementary schools.

4-H Robotics Training Guide

The National 4-H Council has produced a series of professional development training modules for programs wishing to increase their capacity to offer robotics at their sites. The 4-H Robotics Professional Development Modules assist afterschool coordinators in providing training for staff, volunteers, and teen leaders. Modules include a “Getting Started Guide,” a comprehensive robotics overview, information on recruitment and partnerships, and ideas on expanding and strengthening a new robotics program.

Diverse Learners

Expanding Learning, Enriching Learning: Portraits of Five Programs

This publication from the Wallace Foundation describes five Wallace-funded programs working to expand learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children. All five programs aim to enable low-income students to benefit from the types of opportunities their wealthier counterparts have access to, from homework help to swimming classes. The report details each program’s approach, successes, and challenges, offering a well-rounded picture of the effort nationally to expand learning opportunities for low-income children—and the work that remains.

Program Management

Strong Directors/Skilled Staff: Guide to Using the Core Competencies

This handbook from Wellesley College’s National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) outlines key skills—“core competencies”—needed by afterschool program directors and those they supervise. The publication offers guidance and tools on how to develop the skills, including questionnaires that managers and youth workers can use to determine their strengths and weaknesses. The handbook was developed for the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development and draws on NIOST’s field efforts and research.

Leap of Faith: A Literature Review on the Effects of Professional Development on Program Quality and Youth Outcomes

This literature review from the Robert Bowne Foundation examines research on the effects of professional development on afterschool program quality and youth outcomes. Author Sarah Hill observes that there is “no clear link between professional development and youth outcomes” in out-of-school time literature but notes that a research-based consensus has established the characteristics of high-quality professional development: “It is sustained over a period of time, coherent, content focused, and based in a community of learners.” The review suggests that afterschool professionals use these guidelines to shape their professional development offerings while calling for more rigorous studies on the link between high-quality professional development and youth outcomes. The review also contains an annotated bibliography of related research.

Think Summer

This article presents recommendations from the Wallace-funded RAND Corporation report Getting to Work on Summer Learning, specifically those related to the hiring and training of teachers for school district–run summer learning programs. First and foremost, the report and article emphasize the need for districts to commit to a summer program by December and begin planning by January. The article appeared in JSD, the journal of Learning Forward, an organization promoting professional development in education.

Afterschool Enrichment

Something to Say: Success Principles for Afterschool Arts Programs From Urban Youth and Other Experts

This publication from the Wallace Foundation explores how high-quality arts programs can attract and retain low-income urban tweens. The report draws on hundreds of interviews with young people, their families, leaders of exemplary programs and others nationwide and outlines 10 principles for developing effective programming. An infographic illustrating key findings, a report “knowledge-in-brief,” a video introduction, and video profiles of six outstanding arts organizations offer compelling supplemental reading and viewing.

Drug and Alcohol Prevention Resources

The You for Youth afterschool website has a collection of resources on drug and alcohol prevention. All materials provided in the resource list and in the content modules are approved for your professional development needs by both the Office of National Drug Control Policy and by the U.S. Department of Education.

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier kids. The organization provides resources for out-of-school time providers, state-specific statistics, and an e-newsletter. There is also a framework to help out-of-school providers improve access to healthier foods, increase physical activity opportunities, and emphasize youth engagement.

Subscription Required

A subscription or fee is required to access this resource. If you would like to read the resource you can purchase it from the publisher or ask your local library if they subscribe to the publication or can order a copy.

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Copyright ©2014 by SEDL. This publication was developed by SEDL in 2014 and was funded by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) with support by the U.S. Government. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the ISBE 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.

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