In Pennsylvania, the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is the only federal funding source dedicated exclusively to before and after school, and summer learning programs. Investments in 21st CCLC programs keep children in high‐poverty, low‐performing schools safe and supported, engages them in interest‐driven, academically enriching activities, and provides peace of mind to working families. However, the number of Pennsylvania students who would be enrolled in an afterschool program if one were available to them, far outweighs the number of students who attend a 21st CCLC program, due in large part to limited federal funding.
A statewide evaluation of Pennsylvania’s 21st CCLC programs found that, based on teacher surveys, students who regularly participate in the programs made improvements in their engagement, academics and behavior in school. Among students who needed to improve in the following respective areas, 67 percent improved academically, 58 percent improved their class attentiveness, and 52 percent improved their classroom behavior. (Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2015)