Schools & Educators
“Children and youth who participate in well-implemented programs and activities outside of school are poised to stay enrolled longer and perform better in school than their peers who do not attend such programs.” – Council of Chief State School Officers
Measurable Impact for Students, Teachers and Administrators
The Afterschool Alliance’s Afterschool: Supporting Family Involvement in Schools issue brief summarizes years of research proving the positive benefits of quality afterschool/out-of-school time (OST) that is connected to the school day:
Improved Parent and Community Engagement
Whether school-based or community-based, quality OST involves parents and utilizes community resources. Working with parents and the community does present challenges (lack of time, funding, family issues, etc.), but with proper planning and partnering, parents can become more positively engaged in their child’s learning and development. For some parents, before school or after school time is their only connection to what their child is learning during the day.
The Harvard Family Research Project’s (HRFP) Focus on Families! How to Build and Support Family-Centered Practices in Afterschool and Promising Strategies for Connecting Out-of-School Time Programs to Schools: Learning What Works (p.16) highlight innovative ways for OST providers to successfully engage families and the community, and build stronger relationships with schools. Low income families and neighborhoods are especially dependent on these opportunities and programs. Even in challenging economic times where parents and schools are cutting back, quality of care and staff, and programs is still the top priority for parents. OST that collaborates with local schools, educators and the community can share resources to maintain quality.
Keeping Students in School and Inspiring Learning
As noted above, strong OST programs inspire students to learn and stay in school. Frequent attendance in quality OST programs improves grades and test performance, increases school attendance, improves homework completion and quality, reduces grade retention and increases the likelihood that students will graduate from high school and go on to some type of post secondary education. (Afterschool Alliance and Harvard Family Research Project 2004) Making the Case: How Good Afterschool Programs Improve School-day Attendance research shows that good afterschool programs can not only improve academic performance but also influence school-day attendance.
The strongest predictor of whether students will dropout of high school is poor academic performance. Other risk factors include repeating grades, low socioeconomic background, speaking English as a second language, becoming pregnant, and being frequently tardy or absent from school. (U.S. Department of Education, 2004)
Summer OST programs help prevent the loss of learning that students experience cumulatively throughout their school years over the summer. The Wallace Foundation-commissioned study, Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning finds that preventing summer learning loss requires a collaborative approach from educators at all levels, district administrators and policy makers. The HRFP’s Year-Round Learning: Linking School, Afterschool, and Summer Learning to Support Student Success, reinforces summer learning and an approach to expanded learning—one that provides students with access to quality learning environments across the year.
For more background and resources on OST practice, policy and research, PSAYDN recommends these leading partners:
For a more detailed list of our Partners and Funders, click here.
NCSL's Membership in the Afterschool Technical Assistance Collaborative
The National League of Cities, Council of Chief State School Officers, Finance Project, National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors’ Association, Afterschool Alliance, and Terry Peterson of the College of Charleston, with the help of Learning Point Associates and Collaborative Communications Group provide technical assistance to the states around comprehensive state-wide policies on afterschool programs. Funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation these organizations work together collaboratively with statewide afterschool networks to provide the necessary technical assistance to help states create comprehensive policies that support quality Expanded Learning Opportunities for children.
Recommended Reading on Parent and Family Afterschool Needs and Engagement
All Work and No Play? is research that suggests a change in direction for our national conversation on out-of-school activities and programs. It is clear that structured, organized non-school activities are highly valued in the lives of our nation’s young people. Families want a variety of activities that provide a child new interests—not just afterschool tutoring. Therefore, design and evaluation of out-of-school offerings need to respond to those values.
The Economy's Impact on Parents' Choices and Perceptions about Child Care presents information on a nationwide poll of 1,000 parents with children under age 12 and their child care choices and perspectives in the current economy. The report revealed that quality and cost remain the most important factors for parents when choosing child care. Seventy five percent of parents rate affordable child care as the most or one of the most important factors in helping working families and more than half of families with children under age 5 (51 percent) say the economy has affected their child care in some way. Moreover, it still remains, parents' logical assumptions about child care standards far exceed the reality of the state of child care policies.
Afterschool Alliance – Extended Learning Time Talking Points
26 percent of Pennsylvania’s K-12 youth are responsible for taking care of themselves. These children spend an average of more than six hours per week unsupervised after school. A lack of adult supervision is linked to lower grades and test scores, higher levels of tobacco and drugs, an increased likelihood of accidents and injuries and a greater likelihood of early sexual activity. (Afterschool Alliance and National Institute on Out-of-School Time, 2004)