Resource Database

Photo of students outdoors reviewing a map together
The Illinois Quality Afterschool team has created this resource database to help you and your staff provide high-quality 21st CCLC programming. Browse or search the database to find the latest information on afterschool research, best practices, tools, conference proceedings, policy briefs, professional development tools, and activities.

Click on a topic or use the search box below to look for a listing:


There are 402 resources. Displaying 10 resources per page.

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Connecting Students to the World Through Food Studies

Food offers a way for students to engage in interdisciplinary learning, with topics ranging from the history of trade, the science of how food is grown, and the cultural role of food. This blog post from Education Week describes how one middle school explored the question: “What can we learn about the world by looking at our food?” The blog post lists a range of activities that the students completed and also links to several books and resources that educators can use.



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Afterschool Enrichment
7 Ways to Spark Engagement

Helping students feel connected to their own learning can boost engagement and achievement. This article from Edutopia outlines simple practices that educators can integrate into instruction to spark students’ curiosity and strengthen engagement. Strategies include asking more in-depth questions, introducing controversy, and encouraging collaboration.



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Afterschool Enrichment
Building Financial Literacy

Learning how to manage money to make smart saving and spending decisions is a critical skill. Yet many people don’t know enough to be financially stable. This Click & Go Training from the U.S. Department of Education’s You for Youth website provides financial literacy lessons and activities for both adults and youth. In addition to lessons for different audiences and ages, the training has handouts for key terms, planning activities across age groups, engaging families, aligning with standards, and working with partners.



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Afterschool Enrichment
Strategies to Create a Community in Your Classroom

Having a cohesive community can create a positive educational environment, but it doesn’t always happen naturally. This article from PBS Teachers Lounge outlines 10 ways that educators can build classroom community. Ideas include asking students to define community, providing opportunities for students to share their feelings, and inviting members from the broader community to engage with students.



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Afterschool Enrichment
What to Do When a Project Fails

Although project-based learning provides an engaging way for students to learn, projects don’t always go as planned. This article from Edutopia describes what happens when a project doesn’t go as planned. Stressing the importance of reflection, benchmarks, and persistence, the authors point out that students can still master content when a project fails. They also stress that teachers can learn something too from these experiences.



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Afterschool Enrichment
Looking at the Impact of Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning offers an interactive way for students to master skills and engage in their community. This article in The Hechinger Report summarizes some of the data related to one school’s work in project-based learning. School leaders found that students who participated in project-based learning were more engaged and made more interdisciplinary connections than peers who did not participate in project-based learning. They also found that these students performed as well on the state math test as their peers and outperformed them in English language arts.



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Afterschool Enrichment
Teens Want Schools That Nurture Their Social and Emotional Development

Today’s youth face numerous challenges, but many are also passionate about their communities and their futures, and have a unique perspective on the role of education in their day-to-day lives. This article from ASCD Express discusses findings from a CASEL report on youth perspectives about high school and social and emotional learning (SEL). The study found that students believe that there are benefits to attending a high school that promotes SEL, but felt that there were also ways that high schools could improve their current SEL offerings.



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Social-Emotional Learning
Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Video

According to the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), nearly 3.5 million children are subject to at least one maltreatment report, such as physical, sexual, and emotional/psychological abuse. Youth are often placed in foster care because of abuse, and youth in foster care are more likely to be victims of sex trafficking. To help stakeholders understand the intersection of child abuse, foster care, and sex trafficking, AYPF has created a video about child abuse prevention awareness. The video is available on the AYPF website with links to resources. The video is also available on the AYPF YouTube channel.



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Diverse Learners
A Snapshot of Rural Afterschool in America

Rural areas face unique challenges: their populations are declining, disparate, aging, and highly migratory. However, rural areas also offer unique strengths, such as community resources like 4-H and STEM activities connected to agriculture and other rural industries. A new briefing paper from the National Conference of State Legislatures provides an overview of afterschool programs in rural areas. The paper lists challenges, examples of state policy initiatives, highlights from rural afterschool programs, and ideas for actions that state legislatures can take.



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Diverse Learners
Leadership Connections Across the Generations

Many afterschool programs are led by multigenerational teams. This blog post from the National AfterSchool Association offers suggestions for building connections among members of multigenerational teams. The ideas are offered under the theme of “See them, hear them, include them,” and include both strategies and real-world examples.



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Program Management

There are 402 resources. Displaying 10 items per page.

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Volunteers: Engaging, Training, Managing and Retaining (Two-Part Series)

Volunteers can strengthen a 21st CCLC by expanding a program’s offerings, increasing adult-to-student ratios, increasing student access to experts, and more. This two-part webinar series from the U.S. Department of Education’s You for Youth (Y4Y) team shows 21st CCLC professionals how to engage, train, manage, and retain fantastic volunteers in every type of geographic location. Throughout the series, participants hear from experts and program leaders on strategies for maximizing the power of volunteers.
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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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