Illinois Quality Afterschool Resource Bulletin

Winter 2021

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

Dialogue on Approaches to Staff Training

Staff training remains an integral part of a thriving afterschool program. Afterschool Matters Dialogue: Approaches to OST [Out-of-School Time] Staff Training, a new webinar from the National Institute on Out-of-School Time, explores strategies for remote and in-person staff training. The webinar features perspectives from several afterschool leaders, including examples of how they have modified staff training during remote programming.

Mizzen by Mott

Mizzen by Mott is a new free-of-charge app for afterschool professionals. The app provides age-appropriate content in academic and enrichment areas, with activities for large- or small-group in-person settings or at home. Mizzen also provides tools for scheduling, organizing, and communicating with your afterschool team. Finally, the app includes pro tips from experts. Free login is required.

21st CCLC Programs in a Virtual World

Are you looking for ways to make sure virtual programming remains engaging for students, their families, and staff? This two-part webinar series from You for Youth (Y4Y), the U.S. Department of Education’s web portal for 21st CCLC programs, has you covered. The series explores tools and strategies for consistency and student interaction. It also showcases tools like virtual field trips and scavenger hunts that programs can use for family engagement.

Every Summer Counts: A Longitudinal Analysis of Outcomes from the National Summer Learning Project

A new report on summer learning programs finds that high-quality summer programming can produce meaningful benefits for students, especially for students who can attend regularly and for consecutive summers. The report also includes implications for policy and implementation, including providing academic supports, program duration, and providing high-quality programming.

Afterschool Matters — Fall 2020

The latest issue of Afterschool Matters, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time’s journal for afterschool professionals, has several articles to support program improvement. Topics include social and emotional learning, supporting students in long-term projects, and engaging volunteers.

Diverse Learners

Youth-Centered Microsite

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) has created a youth-focused section of the organization’s website. The microsite contains artwork, resources, and tools designed by and geared towards young people with experiences in foster care and juvenile justice systems.

Social and Emotional Learning

Bringing Mindfulness to Out-of-School Time

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. This practice remains important as our world remains a stressful place. This webinar from Y4Y shares strategies for promoting positivity and awareness among staff and students.

Early Lessons from Schools and Out-of-School Time Programs Implementing Social and Emotional Learning

The Wallace Foundation has a new report on the benefits of partnerships between schools and OST programs focused on building social and emotional skills. The report covers the early work of six communities that have gone about incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) programs and practices in school and OST. Early lessons include the following: defining what SEL skills students and adults need to develop, planning supports to develop SEL skills, developing a common language for SEL, setting aside staff time for clear and frequent communication, and documenting and formalizing SEL routines and practices.

Lessons for Supportive Adults on Youth Isolation

Young people have shared that the pandemic has disrupted their networks and deepened their sense of isolation. It has also increased feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. This video series from the U.S. government’s Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs captures this youth feedback and identifies specific steps supportive adults can take to help youth cope.

Winter Wellness Activities

Wide Open School, an organization that helps families and educators find trusted resources to enrich and support distance learning, has curated resources and activities to support winter wellness. These include a 21-day challenge for healthy habits, cards of encouragement, and reflection exercises.

Afterschool Enrichment

Top Ten Ways to Engage Students in Deeper Learning during COVID-19

Staying engaged during online learning and a pandemic is challenging. This blog post from American Youth Policy Forum outlines ways educators can help students remain engaged, motivated, and enthusiastically learning. Ideas include creating a welcoming environment, focusing on relationships, maintaining constant communication, and teaching students how to self-regulate. Each suggestion includes examples and links to resources.

Youth Perspective in the Age of COVID-19

In August 2020, America’s Promise Alliance and The 74 co-hosted a virtual youth town hall about returning to school in the age of COVID-19. Fifty-three percent of students who participated in the virtual town hall reported that their schools had not sought their opinions on reopening. The town hall also captured students’ experiences during the pandemic and suggestions for supporting education and engagement.

Academic Enrichment

Meeting 21st CCLC Academic Requirements in Virtual and Hybrid Environments

Although the pandemic may have changed how 21st CCLC programs deliver programming, federal requirements for providing 21st CCLC programs have not changed. Y4Y has offered a three-part webinar series to show how virtual and hybrid afterschool programming can be impactful, engaging, and fun. The series includes tools and techniques for virtual and hybrid afterschool settings and examples from practitioners who have successfully transitioned to virtual or hybrid programming.

Learning about the U.S. Presidential Inauguration

Discovery, Inc. and Discovery Education have partnered to present I Do Solemnly Swear: The U.S. Presidential Inauguration. This behind-the-scenes virtual field trip helps educators, students, and families across the United States and worldwide learn more about the traditions of the U.S. presidential inauguration. Inaugural experts and historians share their perspectives and insights through a series of interviews and provide information about the current administration.


Telling Your Data Story (Two-Part Series)

Y4Y has a two-part webinar series that explains how afterschool leaders can connect the dots and translate data into a powerful narrative. Topics include planning a program year with the end in mind, interpreting data to make decisions, and crafting a story about your data. That story will help you recruit partners, identify program champions, and market your program to the community.

America After 3pm

Demand for afterschool programs has remained strong during COVID-19, with parents seeing programs as providing critical supports. The fourth edition of America After 3PM, an Afterschool Alliance report on parent satisfaction with afterschool programs in 2020, finds that demand for afterschool programs remains high while cost and access barriers to participation and inequities persist. In addition to the report and executive summary, Afterschool Alliance has provided resources like infographics and fact sheets to help afterschool programs share information about the demand, need, and support for afterschool programs.

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Copyright ©2021 by American Institutes for Research. This publication was developed by AIR in 2021 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.