Illinois Quality Afterschool Resource Bulletin

Winter 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

More Children are Getting Afterschool Meals that Boost their Health and Learning

Afterschool Nutrition Programs have an important role in closing the afterschool hunger gap that exists for many children across the country. A new report from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) has found that student participation in Afterschool Nutrition Programs is growing. The report explains the programs’ importance and outlines ways that afterschool programs can reach more students in need. FRAC also has a blog post about the report, which summarizes findings and outlines next steps to expand program offerings.

Building Impact: A Closer Look at Local Cross-Sector Collaborations for Education

“Collective impact” refers to broad, multi-sector collaborations that can involve government, schools, businesses, universities, foundations, and nonprofits. A new study by Teachers College, Columbia University, commissioned by the Wallace Foundation, examines cross-sector collaborations designed to improve education. The study of cross-sector initiatives in eight cities concludes that they “show promise” and can establish the stability needed for partnerships to move forward. This study can help inform afterschool partnerships with schools and community organizations as they seek to strengthen the reach of their programs.

Afterschool Matters — Fall 2019

The latest issue of Afterschool Matters, a journal from the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, includes articles on a range of topics that may be useful to 21st CCLC grantees. Topics include supporting youth development in the context of homelessness, youth perspectives on afterschool staff turnover, and new ideas on using technology to boost student learning.

Diverse Learners

An Inclusive Vision for 21st Century Learning

To succeed in the workforce and life, it is crucial that all students, including those with disabilities, learn 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, self-advocacy, communication, collaboration, and dispositions like self-determination and growth mindsets. National Center for Learning Disabilities has published a report on the 21st century skills gap that exists between adults with learning disabilities and those without. The report also outlines strategies and actions that stakeholders can take to support students with disabilities in developing 21st century skills.

Supporting Healthy Development and Well-Being through Summer Learning

For youth living in low-income communities, summertime can mean a lack of access to quality programs, food insecurity, and exposure to unsafe and dangerous conditions. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine outlines the challenges and opportunities the summer months present for healthy development and well-being among children and youth. It also provides recommendations to address obstacles that children from disadvantaged communities can face during the summer.

Promoting Equity and Inclusion in Afterschool

To promote equity and inclusion in expanded learning time, it is vital to ensure afterschool professionals are not intentionally or unintentionally perpetuating stereotypes and inequities that hold young people back from being successful. “Do the Work: What Every Afterschool Professional Can Do to Promote Equity” discusses the importance of equity in expanded learning and provides strategies for implementation.

Guides for Families Experiencing the Criminal Justice System

The federal Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs’ site has created a three-part guide series that covers a family’s unique journey through the stages of a loved one’s involvement in the criminal justice system. The guides are divided into three stages: (1) arrest, jail time/detention, trial/hearing, and sentencing; (2) incarceration; and (3) reentry. Each guide describes what happens in that phase and has strategies for communicating with and supporting students who have family members involved in the criminal justice system.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through Literacy

Illinois Classrooms in Action has compiled a list of resources to help educators promote diversity, equity, and inclusion through literacy. Resources include professional learning materials, classroom support tools, and text collections.

Social and Emotional Learning

Trauma-Informed Care Training

The U.S. Department of Education’s You for Youth (Y4Y) web portal for 21st CCLC programs has a new “Click & Go” training module on trauma-informed care. The training provides background, insights, and strategies for supporting students who have experienced trauma.

Adolescent Connectedness

A feeling of connectedness, or the sense of “being cared for, supported, and belonging,” can have positive outcomes for youth. They are less likely to experience negative health outcomes related to sexual risk, substance use, violence, or mental health. They are also more likely to experience positive school outcomes, such as academic achievement, high grades and test scores, better attendance, and staying in school. A new article from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides an overview of adolescent connectedness and its importance. It also provides strategies to promote adolescent connectedness.

Children’s Mental Health and the Life Course: A Virtual Workshop Series

The MCH Life Course Intervention Research Network and the National Academies’ Forum for Children’s Well-Being have collaborated to develop a webinar series on children’s mental health. The series identifies gaps in knowledge and explores new strategies for using existing data to enhance understanding of the developmental origins of mental disorders. It also reviews potential approaches to prevention and optimization and proposes new ways of framing how we understand, address, and prevent these disorders from a life course development perspective.

Afterschool Enrichment

The Science of Learning and Development in Afterschool Systems and Settings

The Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) Alliance explores and strengthens systems and settings that bolster whole-child efforts through research, policy, and practice. A new briefing paper from the American Institutes for Research explores SoLD in afterschool and in other systems and settings where young people learn, live, and play. The brief includes select findings from the SoLD Alliance’s efforts; key takeaways on relational settings, cultural competence, and trauma and adversity; suggestions for supporting high-quality afterschool systems and settings; and an outline of the elements of developmentally rich contexts that foster learning and healthy development.

Academic Enrichment

Civics Resources

Afterschool is the ideal environment to bring civics concepts like the branches of the U.S. government, the Electoral College, and trade tariffs to life. This blog post from Y4Y outlines some of the civics resources the project has available on the Y4Y site. Resources include professional development on civic learning and engagement, a citizen science course, and a service-learning toolbox.

Tapping Students’ Interests to Develop Literary Analysis Skills

If you are looking for ways to engage students in writing and analysis, try passion blogging, a form of writing founded on what students know and care about. An article in Edutopia describes how students can explore their interests to develop literary analysis skills. It outlines ways to help students reflect on their interests, read and write about them, and then provide feedback to peers on their writing.

Statistics in Schools

The Statistics in Schools program provides high-quality and free curriculum materials for educators using Census Bureau data. New activities, designed specifically for the 2019–2020 school year, spotlight the 2020 Census and the importance of making sure everyone is counted, especially children. Activities are available for pre-K through 12th grade, English language learners, and adult English as a second language students.

Family Engagement

Engaging Families in STEM

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is an important and popular subject in afterschool. The archived webinar from Click2Science provides strategies on engaging families in your afterschool program’s STEM education efforts. In addition to providing a video of the webinar, Click2Science links to a staff development guide and other resources for STEM instruction and family engagement.

College and Career Readiness

Promoting College and Career Readiness in Afterschool

Afterschool programs can help students develop the mix of skills they need to be ready for postsecondary education and careers. For those programs that don’t have a college and career readiness program in place, the idea can seem daunting. A blog post from the American Youth Policy Forum lists five ways afterschool programs can promote college and career readiness. It also provides an overview of what this looks like in an afterschool program.

AIR Logo

American Institutes for Research
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW
Washington, DC 20007-3835

Illinois Quality Afterschool logo21st Century Community Learning Centers logoIllinois State Board of Education Logo

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.