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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Afterschool Programs’ Impact on Academics, Behavior, Safety, and Family Life

A steady stream of afterschool evaluations are showing important gains for children, not only in terms of academic achievement but also in regard to safety, discipline, attendance, and avoidance of risky behaviors. This updated evaluations “backgrounder”-a summary of formal evaluations of afterschool programs-from the Afterschool Alliance includes new research that demonstrates the impact of afterschool programs on academic outcomes, student behavior, and parental concerns about children’s safety. Afterschool practitioners can use this resource to illustrate the effectiveness of quality afterschool programs to stakeholders.



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Program Management
Elements of Program Quality

Created by the New York State Afterschool Network, the online Quality Self-Assessment Tool is organized around 10 essential elements of an effective afterschool program, all of which come from evidenced-based practice: environment and climate, administration and organization, relationships, staffing and professional development, programming and activities, linkages between day and afterschool, youth participation and engagement, parent, family, and community partnerships, program sustainability and growth, and measuring outcomes and evaluation. Each element contains a list of quality indicators that are rated on a performance level from 1 to 4. There are also examples of what a program might look like at each performance level for all indicators.



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Program Management
Coaching Staff Toward Program Quality

Quality is on the forefront of afterschool programs. Afterschool leaders can play an important role in supporting staff as they grow the capacity to recognize and incorporate quality into their programs. This blog post from the National AfterSchool Association lists 10 simple actions that expanded learning leaders can take to coach their staff toward youth program quality.



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Program Management
Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators

Published by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network in 2008, this toolkit provides information and resources to help educators support students who have experienced trauma. The toolkit includes a fact sheet and strategies that educators can use with different age groups.



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Diverse Learners
Strategies to Engage Older Youth in Afterschool Programs

High-quality expanded learning programs can help youth in middle and high school avoid risky behavior and stay on track for graduation. Yet many cities struggle to provide sufficient afterschool and summer learning opportunities for older youth that are accessible and relevant to their interests. To address these challenges, the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families has published City Strategies to Engage Older Youth in Afterschool Programs. The guide identifies four strategies that city leaders can use to increase afterschool program participation among older youth: coordinate systems to support effective service delivery; ensure programs are of high quality; offer a wide variety of relevant program options; and promote college attendance and workplace readiness.



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Diverse Learners
Science NetLinks Afterschool Resources

Science NetLinks, a project of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has several free afterschool science lessons on its website. Hands-on lessons include creating a geyser, constructing models to learn about balance, using marbles and coins to understand the concept of chance, and other fun activities. Each lesson includes a facilitator page, as well as online and printable pages for kids.



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Academic Enrichment
Putting Collective Impact Into Context

This working paper by a team from the Teachers College at Columbia University reviews roughly five decades of research around local, cross-sector collaborations. The authors examine key obstacles collective impact efforts have faced but note that current efforts in education may have better outcomes for several reasons: the notion that “schools can do it alone” has receded; new players, including mayors and city agencies, have become factors in education policy; many states and districts now have more sophisticated systems for collecting and analyzing student data; and cities are embracing “the new localism”-the idea that they, rather than the federal government, are the best arena for creative solutions to big problems.



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Family and Community Engagement
Strengthening Partnerships and Building Public Will for Out-Of-School Time Programs

Published by the National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families in 2010, this guide describes three key strategies that city leaders can use to generate support for access to high-quality out-of-school time activities. The guide also highlights a broad range of examples of how cities have successfully implemented each strategy, from partnerships with universities to coordinated communications plans.



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Family and Community Engagement
Creating Linkages Between Summer Programs, Schools, and Community Partners

When budgets are tight, successful partnerships allow organizations to leverage resources that expand and enrich young peoples’ lives. Meaningful Linkages Between Summer Programs, Schools, and Community Partners: Conditions and Strategies for Success, a short research profile from the National Summer Learning Association, is based on in-depth interviews with 11 summer programs that have successfully forged dynamic linkages between summer programs, schools, and community organizations. The report provides guidance and examples for developing and managing effective summer learning partnerships in your community.



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Family and Community Engagement
Search Institute: Don’t Forget the Families

Amid growing national interest in strengthening children’s “soft” or social-emotional skills as essential for learning, work, and life, a new study from Search Institute highlights the power of family relationships as a critical, but often neglected, factor in the development of character strengths in children. The study argues that too many family engagement efforts are about getting families to support what an institution does, like a school or youth program, and “overlook the one thing about which parents care deeply and that can powerfully benefit their children’s development: relationships in the home.” The findings challenge schools, organizations, and coalitions to rethink and reinvest in family engagement as a crucial strategy for working together for children’s success.



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Family and Community Engagement

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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