Illinois Quality Afterschool Resource Bulletin

Winter 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

Staff Recruitment Toolkit

The Afterschool Alliance has developed a staff recruitment toolkit aimed at helping afterschool program leaders recruit qualified staff. The toolkit includes tips and resources related to marketing, funding ideas to manage staff pay, and messaging.

Accessing Rescue Plan Funds from Local School Districts

The American Rescue Act has provided substantial funding that can be used for afterschool and summer enrichment. The Afterschool Alliance has created a resource providing guidance on how afterschool programs can access funds from local school districts.

Afterschool in Rural America

As part of its America After 3 pm report on afterschool programs in the United States, the Afterschool Alliance has conducted research on the need for afterschool and summer learning programs in rural areas. The report finds that rural areas have experienced a sharp rise in unmet demand for these programs, as well as increasing barriers to participation. Dissemination and advocacy materials include the report, a dashboard, and fact sheets.

Diverse Learners

Creating Safe Schools for LGBTQ+ Youth

All students should feel safe and respected on their school campuses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a brief that is dedicated to helping educators better support LGBTQ+ youth on their campuses.

Missing Narratives: Uncovering Untold Histories

Children should be introduced to multiple narratives and perspectives when they study history. Missing Narratives: Uncovering Untold Histories, a recent blog post from PBSEducation, encourages educators to learn the history of and construct lesson plans that include Native and Indigenous peoples. The blog post also includes links to PBS resources that educators can use to implement these practices.

Striving for Equity for Young Children of Immigrants with Disabilities

Educators and staff must be mindful of the challenges that immigrant families face, especially when they include children with disabilities. The Global Family Research Project has released an article providing information on the needs of immigrant children with disabilities and recommendations for elementary schools so they can better serve these students.

Social and Emotional Learning

How to Sell SEL: Parents and the Politics of Social and Emotional Learning

Although educators and staff members are welcoming social and emotional learning (SEL) in their education spaces, it is unclear how parents feel about this topic. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute has published a report explaining differing ways that parents of K–12 children view SEL and its implementation in schools. One recommendation from the Fordham Institute is for educators to use plain language and refer to SEL with more commonsense terms, such as “life skills.”

Navigating SEL from the Inside Out: Implications for Out of School Time Programs

As communities continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, educators are seeing an increase in the number of students experiencing anxiety, depression, fear, trauma, food insecurity, or homelessness. A recent webinar hosted by the Afterschool Alliance, Forum for Youth Investment, and Every Hour Counts, focused on SEL, its purpose, and how afterschool programs are using SEL to address consequences of the pandemic.

Trust Your Gut

Research shows that intuition can play an important role in decision making. Y4Y has released a blog post that includes tips and resources on how to build a student’s confidence and self-awareness so that they can develop and trust their instincts.

Protecting Youth Mental Health

The U.S. Surgeon General’s office has published an advisory report that compares children’s mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and explains the risk factors that are partly responsible for youth mental health symptoms. The report also provides ways that families, youth, and mental health advocates can support youth who are experiencing mental health challenges.

Leveraging Reset Opportunities to Help Staff and Students Thrive

The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments has designed a tool that provides helpful practices on how school administrators can support staff members and how educators and other staff can support students. These practices center on building individual capacity and creating a supportive environment. Topics include ways to support staff when they are overwhelmed, designing an identity chart for personal reflection, and helping students build connections with others.

Students’ Experiences with Bullying, Hate Speech, Hate Crimes, and Victimization in Schools

Each year about one in five students faces at least one form of hostile or violent behaviors like bullying, hate speech, hate crimes, or assault. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a study explaining the hostile behaviors that students experience on school campuses and the strategies that schools adopt to address these problems. The report finds that nearly every school reviewed uses programs or practices to address hostile behaviors, with almost 90% of schools utilizing SEL principles.

Afterschool Enrichment

From Youth Served to Youth Led: How to Build an Intergenerational Team for Impact

The Afterschool Alliance, along with The Institute for Citizens & Scholars, hosted a webinar moderated and led by students from the Kentucky Student Voice Team. The students shared content from a case study, The Co-Creation Generation, which is intended to serve as a resource for advocates who want to create meaningful youth-led and intergenerational initiatives. The webinar archive includes a question-and-answer session, strategies for youth-led initiatives, and student perspectives.

Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT)

The Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) is a new resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This resource assists educators and curriculum developers in creating the most effective health education curriculum and providing the best quality health education for students. The HECAT resources include guidance on reviewing health education curriculum, customizable templates, and tools to analyze curriculum fundamentals.

New Research Makes a Powerful Case for PBL

Project-based learning (PBL) is helping students become more engaged and creative. A new article from Edutopia summarizes two gold-standard studies demonstrating that PBL is a beneficial education strategy, including for historically marginalized students. This blog post can be helpful to educators seeking research on the effectiveness of PBL.

Academic Enrichment

Student Book Clubs: The Power to Instill a Love of Reading and Help Heal

Students have lost a substantial amount of valuable learning time due to COVID-19. A new blog post from Share My Lesson discusses how student book clubs help students recover from the pandemic learning loss and develop a passion for reading.

How Math Journals Help Students Process Their Learning

Many people journal their thoughts and feelings, but what about journaling diagrams and lists? A recent article from Edutopia describes the practice of math journaling and how students creation of mathematics-related stories and drawings can improve their learning.

Improving Persuasive Writing with Evidence Scavenger Hunts

A strong persuasive essay should include evidence to support the author’s argument. A video from Edutopia shows how educators can use an evidence scavenger hunt to help students locate text passages that present evidence in an essay.

Youth Civic Engagement

How does one become engaged in their community? has created a webpage that helps educators and youth improve their understanding of civic engagement and provides resources related to that topic. Resources include an overview of volunteering as a form of civic engagement and links to civic engagement activities and organizations.


Digital Literacy Training

It is important that kids know how to safely navigate the Internet. In response to this need, Y4Y has added digital literacy to its suite of Click & Go training resources. Its purpose is to educate afterschool staff on the importance of digital literacy and how to effectively teach it to students. Training materials include podcasts, customizable tools, and links to additional resources.

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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.